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New- street- Square. 


HIS LIFE, from April, 1817, to October, 1820. 




Venice, April 9. 1817. 

" YOUR letters of the 18th and 20th are arrived. 
In my own I have given you the rise, progress, de- 
cline, and fall, of my recent malady. It is gone to 
the devil : I won't pay him so bad a compliment as to 
say it came from him ; he is too much of a gentle- 
man. It was nothing but a slow fever, which quick- 
ened its pace towards the end of its journey. I had 
been bored with it some weeks with nocturnal 
burnings and morning perspirations ; but I am quite 
well again, which I attribute to having had neither 
medicine nor doctor thereof. 

" In a few days I set off for Rome : such is my pur- 
pose. I shall change it very often before Monday 
next, but do you continue to direct and address to 
Venice, as heretofore. If I go, letters will be for- 
warded : I say ' if, ' because I never know what I 
shall do till it is done ; and as I mean most firmly to 



set out for Rome, it is not unlikely I may find myself 
at St. Petersburg. 

" You tell me to * take care of myself;' faith, 
and I will. I won't be posthumous yet, if I can help 
it. Notwithstanding, only think what a * Life and 
Adventures,' while I am in full scandal, would be 
worth, together with the membra' of my writing- 
desk, the sixteen beginnings of poems never to be 
finished ! Do you think I would not have shot myself 
last year, had I not luckily recollected that Mrs. C * * 
and Lady N * *, and all the old women in England 
would have been delighted ; besides the agreeable 
* Lunacy,' of the ' Crowner's Quest,' and the regrets 
of two or three or half a dozen ? Be assured that I 
ivould live for two reasons, or more ; there are one 
or two people whom I have to put out of the world, 
and as many into it, before I can { depart in peace ;' 
if I do so before, I have not fulfilled my mission. 
Besides, when I turn thirty, I will turn devout ; I 
feel a great vocation that way in Catholic churches, 
and when I hear the organ. 

" So * * is writing again ! Is there no Bedlam in 
Scotland? nor thumb-screw ? nor gag? nor hand- 
cuff? I went upon my knees to him almost, some years 
ago, to prevent him from publishing a political 
pamphlet, which would have given him a livelier 
idea of Habeas Corpus* than the world will derive 
from his present production upon that suspended 
subject, which will doubtless be followed by the 
suspension of other of his Majesty's subjects. 
" 1 condole with Drury Lane and rejoice with * *, 


that is, in a modest way, on the tragical end of 
the new tragedy. 

" You and Leigh Hunt have quarrelled then, it 
seems ? I introduce him and his poem to you, in 
the hope that (malgre politics) the union would be 
beneficial to both, and the end is eternal enmity ; 
and yet I did this with the best intentions : I intro- 
duce * * *, and * * * runs away with your money: 
my friend Hobhouse quarrels, too, with the Quar- 
terly : and (except the last) I am the innocent 
Istmhus (damn the word ! I can't spell it, though I 
have crossed that of Corinth a dozen times) of these 

" I will tell you something about Chillon. A 
Mr. De Luc, ninety years old, a Swiss, had it read 
to him, and is pleased with it, so my sister writes. 
He said that he was with Rousseau at Chillon^ 
and that the description is perfectly correct. But 
this is not all : I recollected something of the name, 
and find the following passage in The Confessions,' 
vol. iii. page 247. liv. viii. : 

" * De tous ces amusemens celui qui me plut da- 
vantage fut une promenade autour du Lac, que je 
fis en bateau avecZteZepere, sa bru, ses deuxfils, 
et ma Therese. Nous mimes sept jours a cette 
tournee par le plus beau temps du monde. J'en 
gardai le vif souvenir des sites qui m'avoient frappe 
a 1'autre extremite du Lac, et dont je fis la descrip- 
tion, quelques annees apres, dans la Nouvelle 

" This nonagenarian, De Luc, must be one of the 
deux fils.' He is in England infirm, but still io 
B 2 


faculty. It is odd that he should have lived so long, 
and not wanting in oddness that he should have 
made this voyage with Jean Jacques, and afterwards, 
at such an interval, read a poem by an Englishman 
(who had made precisely the same circumnavigation) 
upon the same scenery. 

" As for * Manfred,' it is of no use sending proofs; 
nothing of that kind comes. I sent the whole at dif- 
ferent times. The two first Acts are the best ; the 
third so so ; but I was blown with the first and second 
heats. You must call it ' a Poem/ for it is no 
Drama, and I do not choose to have it called by so 
* * a name a ' Poem in dialogue/ or Pantomime, 
if you will ; any thing but a green-room synonyme ; 
and this is your motto 

" There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, 
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.' 

" Yours ever, &c. 
" My love and thanks to Mr.Gifford." 


"Venice, April 11. 1817. 

" I shall continue to write to you while the fit is 
on me, by way of penance upon you for your former 
complaints of long silence. I dare say you would 
blush, if you could, for not answering. Next week I 
set out for Rome. Having seen Constantinople, I 
should like to look at t'other fellow. Besides, I want 
to see the Pope, and shall take care to tell him that 
I vote for the Catholics and no Veto. 


" I sha'n't go to Naples. It is but the second best 
sea-view, and I have seen the first and third, viz. 
Constantinople and Lisbon, (by the way, the last is 
but a river-view ; however, they reckon it after 
Stamboul and Naples, and before Genoa,) and Vesu- 
vius is silent, and I have passed by ^Etna. So I 
shall e'en return to Venice in July ; and if you write, 
I pray you to address to Venice, which is my head, 
or rather my heart, quarters. 

" My late physician, Dr. Polidori, is here on his 
way to England, with the present Lord G * * and the 
widow of the late earl. Dr. Polidori has, just 
now, no more patients, because his patients are no 
more. He had lately three, who are now all dead 
one embalmed. Horner and a child of Thomas 
Hope's are interred at Pisa and Rome. Lord G * * 
died of an inflammation of the bowels: so they took 
them out, and sent them (on account of their discre- 
pancies), separately from the carcass, to England. 
Conceive a man going one way, and his intestines 
another, and his immortal soul a third ! was there 
ever such a distribution ? One certainly has a soul ; 
but how it came to allow itself to be enclosed in a 
body is more than I can imagine. I only know if 
once mine gets out, I'll have a bit of a tussle before 
I let it get in again to that or any other. 

" And so poor dear Mr. Maturin's second tragedy 
has been neglected by the discerning public ! * * 
will be d d glad of this, and d d without being 
glad, if ever his own plays come upon any stage.' 

" I wrote to Rogers the other day, with a mes- 
sage for you. I hope that he flourishes. He is the 


Tithonus of poetry immortal already. You and 
I must wait for it. 

" I hear nothing know nothing. You may 
easily suppose that the English don't seek me, and 
I avoid them. To be sure, there are but few or 
none here, save passengers. Florence and Naples 
are their Margate and Ramsgate, and much the 
same sort of company too, by all accounts, which 
hurts us among the Italians. 

" I want to hear of Lalla Rookh are you out? 
Death and fiends ! why don't you tell me where 
you are, what you are, and how you are ? I shall 
go to Bologna by Ferrara, instead of Mantua : be- 
cause I would rather see the cell where they caged 
Tasso, and where he became mad and * *, than his 
own MSS. at Modena, or the Mantuan birthplace of 
that harmonious plagiary and miserable flatterer, 
whose cursed hexameters were drilled into me at 
Harrow. I saw Verona and Vicenza on my way 
here Padua too. 

" I go alone, but alone, because I mean to re- 
turn here. I only want to see Rome. I have not 
the least curiosity about Florence, though I must 
see it for the sake of the Venus, c. &c. ; and I wish 
also to see the Fall of Terni. I think to return to 
Venice by Ravenna and Rimini, of both of which I 
mean to take notes for Leigh Hunt, who will be 
glad to hear of the scenery of his Poem. There 
was a devil of a review of him in the Quarterly, a 
year ago, which he answered. All answers are im- 
prudent : but, to be sure, poetical flesh and blood 
must have the last word that's certain. I thought,, 


and think, very highly of his Poem ; but I warned 
him of the row his favourite antique phraseology 
would bring him into. 

" You have taken a house at Hornsey : I had 
much rather you had taken one in the Apennines. 
If you think of coming out for a summer, or so, tell 
me, that I may be upon the hover for you. 

Ever," &c. 


Venice, April 14. 1817. 

" By the favour of Dr. Polidori, who is here on 
his way to England with the present Lord G * *, 
(the late earl having gone to England by another 
road, accompanied by his bowels in a separate cof- 
fer,) I remit to you, to deliver to Mrs. Leigh, two 
miniatures ; but previously you will have the good- 
ness to desire Mr. Love (as a peace-offering between 
him and me) to set them in plain gold, with my 
arms complete, and < Painted by Prepiani Venice, 
1817,' on the back. I wish also that you would 
desire Holmes to make a copy of each that is, both 
for myself, and that you will retain the said copies 
till my return. One was done while I was very 
unwell ; the other in my health, which may account 
for their dissimilitude. I trust that they will reach 
their destination in safety. 

" I recommend the Doctor to your good offices 
with your government friends ; and if you can be 
of any use to him in a literary point of view, pray 
be so. 


" To-day, or rather yesterday, for it is past mid- 
night, I have been up to the battlements of the 
highest tower in Venice, and seen it and its view, 
in all the glory of a clear Italian sky. I also went 
over the Manfrini Palace, famous for its pictures. 
Amongst them, there is a portrait of Ariosto by 
Titian, surpassing all my anticipation of the power 
of painting or human expression ; it is the poetry of 
portrait, and the portrait of poetry. There was also 
one of some learned lady, centuries old, whose name 
I forget, but whose features must always be remem- 
bered. J never saw greater beauty, or sweetness, 
or wisdom : it is the kind of face to go mad for, 
because it cannot walk out of its frame. There is 
also a famous dead Christ and live Apostles, for 
which Buonaparte offered in vain five thousand 
louis ; and of which, though it is a capo d'opera of 
Titian, as I am no connoisseur, I say little, and 
thought less, except of one figure in it. There are 
ten thousand others, and some very fine Giorgiones 
amongst them, &c. &c. There is an original Laura 
and Petrarch, very, hideous both. Petrarch has not 
only the dress, but the features and air of an old woman, 
and Laura looks by no means like a young one, or a 
pretty one. What struck me most in the general 
collection was the extreme resemblance of the style 
of the female faces in the mass of pictures, so many 
centuries or generations old, to those you see and 
meet every day among the existing Italians. The 
queen of Cyprus and Giorgione's wife, particularly 
the latter, are Venetians as it were of yesterday ; 


the same eyes and expression, and, to my mind, 
there is none finer. 

" You must recollect, however, that I know no- 
thing of painting ; and that I detest it, unless it 
reminds me of something I have seen, or think it 
possible to see, for which reason I spit upon and 
abhor all the Saints and subjects of one half the 
impostures I see in the churches and palaces ; and 
when in Flanders, I never was so disgusted in my 
life, as with Rubens and his eternal wives and infer- 
nal glare of colours, as they appeared to me ; and in 
Spain I did not think much of Murillo and Velas- 
quez. Depend upon it, of all the arts, it is the 
most artificial and unnatural, and that by which the 
nonsense of mankind is most imposed upon. I never 
yet saw the picture or the statue which came a 
league within my conception or expectation ; but I 
have seen many mountains, and seas, and rivers, and 
views, and two or three women, who went as far be- 
yond it, besides some horses ; and a lion (at Veli 
Pacha's) in the Morea ; and a tiger at supper in 
Exeter Change. 

" When you write, continue to address to me at 
Venice. Where do you suppose the books you sent 
to me are ? At Turin ! This comes of * the Foreign 
Office] which is foreign enough, God knows, for any 
good it can be of to me, or any one else, and be 
d d to it, to its last clerk and first charlatan, 

" This makes my hundredth letter at least. 

Yours," &c. 

10 NOTICES OF THE 181",. 


"Venice, April 14. 1817. 

" The present proofs (of the whole) begin only 
at the 17th page ; but as I had corrected and sent 
back the first Act, it does not signify. 

" The third Act is certainly d d bad, and, like the 
Archbishop of Grenada's homily (which savoured of 
the palsy), has the dregs of my fever, during which 
it was written. It must on no account be published 
in its present state. I will try and reform it, or re- 
write it altogether ; but the impulse is gone, and I 
have no chance of making any thing out of it. I 
would not have it published as it is on any account. 
The speech of Manfred to the Sun is the only part 
of this act I thought good myself; the rest is cer- 
tainly as bad as bad can be, and I wonder what 
the devil possessed me. 

" I am very glad indeed that you sent me Mr. 
Gifford's opinion without deduction. Do you sup- 
pose me such a booby as not to be very much 
obliged to him ? or that in fact I was not, and am 
not, convinced and convicted in my conscience of 
this same overt act of nonsense ? 

" I shall try at it again : in the mean time, lay it 
upon the shelf (the whole Drama, I mean) : but 
pray correct your copies of the first and second 
Acts from the original MS. 

" I am not coming to England; but going to Rome 
in a few days. I return to Venice in June ; so, pray, 
address all letters, &c. to me here, as usual, that is, 
to Venice. Dr. Polidori this day left this city with 


Lord G * * for England. He is charged with some 
books to your care (from me), and two miniatures 
also to the same address, both for my sister. 

" Recollect not to publish, upon pain of I know 
not what, until I have tried again at the third Act. 
I am not sure that I shall try, and still less that I 
shall succeed, if I do; but I am very sure, that (as 
it is) it is unfit for publication or perusal ; and unless 
I can make it out to my own satisfaction, I won't 
have any part published. 

" I write in haste, and after having lately written 
very often. Yours/' &c. 


" Foligno, April 26. 1817. 

" I wrote to you the other day from Florence, in- 
closing a MS. entitled * The Lament of Tasso.' It 
was written in consequence of my having been lately 
at Ferrara. In the last section of this MS. but one 
(that is, the penultimate), I think that I have omitted 
a line in the copy sent to you from Florence, viz. 
after the line 

" And woo compassion to a blighted name, 

c< Sealing the sentence which my foes proclaim. 

The context will show you the sense, which is not 
clear in this quotation. Remember, I write this in 
the supposition that you have received my Florentine 

12 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

" At Florence I remained but a day, having a 
hurry for Rome, to which I am thus far advanced. 
However, I went to the two galleries, from which 
one returns drunk with beauty. The Venus is more 
for admiration than love ; but there are sculpture 
and painting, which for the first time at all gave me 
an idea of what people mean by their cant, and what 
Mr. Braham calls * entusimusy ' (i. e. enthusiasm) 
about those two most artificial of the arts. What 
struck me most were, the mistress of Raphael, a 
portrait ; the mistress of Titian, a portrait ; a Venus 
of Titian in the Medici gallery the Venus ; Cano- 
va's Venus also in the other gallery: Titian's mistress 
is also in the other gallery (that is, in the Pitti 
Palace gallery) : the Parcae of Michael Angelo, a 
picture: and the Antinous, the Alexander, and 
one or two not very decent groups in marble ; the 
Genius of Death, a sleeping figure, &c. &c. 

" I also went to the Medici chapel fine frippery 
in great slabs of various expensive stones, to com- 
memorate fifty rotten and forgotten carcasses. It is 
unfinished, and will remain so. 

" The church of ' Santa Croce ' contains much 
illustrious nothing. The tombs of Machiavelli, 
Michael Angelo, Galileo Galilei, and Alfieri, make 
it the Westminster Abbey of Italy. I did not 
admire any of these tombs beyond their contents. 
That of Alfieri is heavy, and all of them seem to me 
overloaded. What is necessary but a bust and 
name ? and perhaps a date ? the last for the unchro- 
nological, of whom I am one. But all your allegory 
and eulogy is infernal, and worse than the long wigs 


of" English numskulls upon Roman bodies in the 
statuary of the reigns of Charles II., William, and 

" When you write, write to Venice, as usual ; I 
mean to return there in a fortnight. I shall not be 
in England for a long time. This afternoon I met 
Lord and Lady Jersey, and saw them for some time : 
all well ; children grown and healthy ; she very 
pretty, but sunburnt ; he very sick of travelling ; 
bound for Paris. There are not many English on 
the move, and those who are, mostly homewards. I 
shall not return till business makes me, being much 
better where I am in health, &c. &c. 

" For the sake of my personal comfort, I pray you 
send me immediately to Venice mind, Venice viz. 
Waites tooth-powder, red, a quantity ; calcined mag- 
nesia, of the best quality, a quantity ; and all this by 
safe, sure, and speedy means ; and, by the Lord ! 
do it. 

" I have done nothing at Manfred's third Act. 
You must wait ; I'll have at it in a week or two, or 
so. Yours ever," &c. 


Rome, May 5. 1817. 

" By this post (or next at farthest) I send you in 
two other covers, the new third Act of ' Manfred.' 
I have re-written the greater part, and returned 
what is not altered in the proof you sent me. The 
Abbot is become a good man, and the Spirits are 
brought in at the death. You will find I think, 

14? NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

some good poetry in this new act, here and there ; 
and if so, print it, without sending me farther proofs, 
under Mr. GifforcTs correction, if he will have the 
goodness to overlook it. Address all answers to 
Venice, as usual ; I mean to return there in ten 

" * The Lament of Tasso,' which I sent from Flo- 
rence, has, I trust, arrived : I look upon it as a 
4 these be good rhymes,' as Pope's papa said to him 
when he was a boy. For the two it and the 
Drama you will disburse to me (via Kinnaird) six 
hundred guineas. You will perhaps be surprised 
that I set the same price upon this as upon the 
Drama ; but, besides that I look upon it as good, I 
won't take less than three hundred guineas for any 
thing. The two together will make you a larger 
publication than the * Siege' and ' Parisina ;' so 
you may think yourself let off very easy : that is to 
say, if these poems are good for any thing, which I 
hope and believe. 

" I have been some days in Rome the Wonderful. 
I am seeing sights, and have done nothing else, ex- 
cept the new third Act for you. I have this 
morning seen a live pope and a dead cardinal : 
Pius VII. has been burying Cardinal Bracchi, whose 
body I saw in state at the Chiesa Nuova. Rome 
has delighted me beyond every thing, since Athens 
and Constantinople. But I shall not remain long 
this visit. Address to Venice. 

Ever, &c. 

" P. S. I have got my saddle-horses here, and 
have ridden, and am riding, all about the country." 




From the foregoing letters to Mr. Murray, we may 
collect some curious particulars respecting one of 
the most original and sublime of the noble poet's 
productions, the Drama of Manfred. His failure 
(and to an extent of which the reader shall be en- 
abled presently to judge), in the completion of 
a design which he had, through two Acts, so mag- 
nificently carried on, the impatience with which, 
though conscious of this failure, he as usual hurried 
to the press, without deigning to woo, or wait for, 
a happier moment of inspiration, his frank docility 
in, at once, surrendering up his third Act to repro- 
bation, without urging one parental word in its be- 
half, the doubt he evidently felt, whether, from 
his habit of striking off these creations at a heat, 
he should be able to rekindle his imagination on the 
subject, and then, lastly, the complete success with 
which, when his mind did make the spring, he at 
once cleared the whole space by which he before 
fell short of perfection, all these circumstances, 
connected with the production of this grand poem, 
lay open to us features, both of his disposition and 
genius, in the highest degree interesting, and such as 
there is a pleasure, second only to that of perusing 
the poem itself, in contemplating. 

As a literary curiosity, and, still more, as a lesson 
to genius, never to rest satisfied with imperfection 
or mediocrity, but to labour on till even failures are 
converted into triumphs, I shall here transcribe the 
third Act, in its original shape, as first sent to the 
publisher : 

16 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 


A Hall in the Castle of Manfred. 

Man. What is the hour ? 

Her. It wants but ane till sunset, 

And promises a lovely twilight. 

Man. Say, 

Are all things so disposed of in the tower 
As I directed ? 

Her. All, my lord, are ready : 

Here is the key and casket. 

Man. It is well : 

Thou may'st retire. [Exit HERMAW. 

Man. (alone. ) There is a calm upon me 
Inexplicable stillness ! which till now 
Did not belong to what I knew of life. 
If that I did not know philosophy 
To be of all our vanities the motliest, 
The merest word that ever fool'd the ear 
From out the schoolman's jargon, I should deem 
The golden secret, the sought ' Kalon,' found, 
And seated in my soul. It will not last, 
But it is well to have known it, though but once : 
It hath enlarged my thoughts with a new sense, 
And I within my tablets would note down 
That there is such a feeling. Who is there ? 

Re-enter HERMAN. 

Her. My lord, the Abbot of St. Maurice craves 
To greet your presence. 

Abbot. Peace be with Count Manfred J 

Man. Thanks, holy father ! welcome to these walls ; 

Thy presence honours them, and blesseth those 

Who dwell within them. 

Abbot. Would it were so, Count 1 

But I would fain confer with thee alone. 


Man. Herman, retire. What would my reverend guest ? 

[Exit HERMAN. 

Abbot. Thus, without prelude : Age and zeal, my office, 
And good intent, must plead my privilege ; 
Our near, though not acquainted neighbourhood, 
May also be ,my herald. Rumours strange, 
And of unholy nature, are abroad, 
And busy with thy name a noble name 
For centuries ; may he who bears it now 
Transmit it unimpair'd. 

Man. Proceed, I listen. 

Abbot. 'Tis said thou holdest converse with the things 
Which are forbidden to the search of man ; 
That with the dwellers of the dark abodes, 
The many evil and unheavenly spirits 
Which walk, the valley of the shade of death, 
Thou communest. I know that with mankind, 
Thy fellows in creation, thou dost rarely 
Exchange thy thoughts, and that thy solitude 
Is as an anchorite's, were it but holy, 

Man. And what are they who do avouch these things ? 

Abbot. My pious brethren the scared peasantry 
Even thy own vassals who do look on thee 
With most unquiet eyes. Thy life 's in peril. 

Man. Take it. 

Abbot. I come to save, and not destroy 

I would not pry into thy secret soul ; 
But if these things be sooth, there still is time 
For penitence and pity : reconcile thee 
With the true church, and through the church to heaven. 

Man. I hear thee. This is my reply ; Whate'er 
I may have been, or am, doth rest between 
Heaven and myself. I shall not choose a mortal 
To be my mediator. Have I sinn'd 
Against your ordinances ? prove and punish ! * 

* It will be perceived that, as far as this, the original matter 
of the third Act has been retained. 

18 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

Abbot. Then, hear and tremble ! For the headstrong wretch 
Who in the mail of innate hardihood 
Would shield himself, and battle for his sins, 
There is the stake on earth, and beyond earth eternal 

Man. Charity, most reverend father, 
Becomes thy lips so much more than this menace, 
That I would call thee back to it ; but say, 
What wouldst thou with me? 

Abbot. It may be there are 

Things that would shake thee but I keep them back, 
And give thee till to-morrow to repent. 
Then if thou dost not all devote thyself 
To penance, and with gift of all thy lands 
To the monastery 

Man. I understand thee, well ! 

Abbot. Expect no mercy ; I have warned thee. 

Man. (opening the casket.) Stop 
There is a gift for thee within this casket. 

[MANFRED opens the casket, strikes a light, and burnt 

some incense. 
Ho! Ashtaroth! 

The DEMON ASHTAROTH appears, singing as follows: 
The raven sits 

On the raven-stone, 
And his black wing flits 

O'er the milk-white bone ; 
To and fro, as the night-winds blow, 

The carcass of the assassin swings ; 
And there alone, on the raven-stone*, 

The raven flaps his dusky wings. 

The fetters creak and his ebon beak 
Croaks to the close of the hollow sound ; 

* " Raven-stone (Rabenstein), a translation of the German 
word for the gibbet, which in Germany and Switzerland is 
permanent, and made of stone." 


And this is the tune by the light of the moon 
To which the witches dance their round 

Merrily, merrily, cheerily, cheerily, 
Merrily, speeds the ball : 

The dead in their shrouds, and the demons in clouds, 
Flock to the witches' carnival. 

Abbot. I fear thee not hence hence 
Avaunt thee, evil one ! help, ho ! without there ! 

Man. Convey this man to the Shreckhorn to its peak 
To its extremest peak watch with him there 
From now till sunrise ; let him gaze, and know 
He ne'er again will be so near to heaven. 
But harm him not ; and, when the morrow breaks, 
Set him down safe in his cell away with him ! 

Ash. Had I not better bring his brethren too, 
Convent and all, to bear him company ? 

Man. No, this will serve for the present. Take him up. 

Ash. Come, friar ! now an exorcism or two, 
And we shall fly the lighter. 

ASHTAROTH disappears with the ABBOT, singing as follows 
A prodigal son and a maid undone, 

And a widow re- wedded within the year ; 
And a worldly monk and a pregnant nun, 

Are things which every day appear. 

MANFRED alone. 

Man. Why would this fool break in on me, and force 
My art to pranks fantastical ? no matter, 
It was not of my seeking. My heart sickens, 
And weighs a fix'd foreboding on my soul j 
But it is calm calm as a sullen sea 
After the hurricane ; the winds are still, 
But the cold waves swell high and heavily, 
And there is danger in them. Such a rest 
Is no repose. My life hath been a combat. 
And every thought a wound, till I am scarr'd 
In the immortal part of me What now ? 

c 2 

20 NOTICES Of THE 1817. 

Re-enter HERMAN. 

Her. My lord, you bade me wait on you at sunset : 
He sinks behind the mountain. 

Man. Doth he so ? 

J will look on him. 

[MANFRED advances to the window of the hall. 

Glorious orb ! * the idol 
Of early nature, and the vigorous race 
Of undiseased mankind, the giant sons 
Of the embrace of angels, with a sex 
More beautiful than they, which did draw down 
The erring spirits who can ne'er return. 
Most glorious orb ! that wert a worship, ere 
The mystery of thy making was reveal'd ! 
Thou earliest minister of the Almighty, 
Which gladden'd, on their mountain tops, the hearts 
Of the Chaldean shepherds, till they pour'd 
Themselves in prisons ! Thou material God ! 
And representative of the Unknown 
Who chose thee for his shadow ! Thou chief star ! 
Centre of many stars ! which mak'st our earth 
Endurable, and temperest the hues 
And hearts of all who walk within thy rays ! 
Sire of the seasons ! Monarch of the climes, 
And those who dwell in them ! for, near or far, 
Our inborn spirits have a tint of thee, 
Even as our outward aspects ; thou dost rise, 
And shine, and set in glory. Fare thee well ! 
I ne'er shall see thee more. As my first glance 
Of love and wonder was for thee, then take 
My latest look : thou wilt not beam on one 
To whom the gifts of life and warmth have been 
Of a more fatal nature. He is gone : 
I follow. [Exit MANFRED. 

* This fine soliloquy, and a great part of the subsequent 
scene, have, it is hardly necessary to remark, been retained in 
the present form of the Drama. 





The Mountains The Castle of Manfred at some distance 
Terrace before a Tower Time, Twilight. 

HERMAN, MANUEL, and other Dependants of MANFRED. 

Her. 'Tis strange enough ; night -^fter night, for years, 
He hath pursued long vigils in this tower, 
Without a witness. I have been within it, 
So have we all been oft-times ; but from it, 
Or its contents, it were impossible 
To draw conclusions absolute of aught 
His studies tend to. To be sure, there is 
One chamber where none enter ; I would give 
The fee of what I have to come these three years, 
To pore upon its mysteries. 

ManueL 'Twere dangerous ; 

Content thyself with what thou know'st already. 

Her. Ah ! Manuel ! thou art elderly and wise, 
And couldst say much ; thou hast dwelt within the castle 
How many years is't ? 

Manuel. Ere Count Manfred's birth, 

I served his father, whom he nought resembles. 

Her. There be more sons in like predicament. 
But wherein do they differ ? 

Manuel. I speak not 

Of features or of form, but mind and habits : 
Count Sigismund was proud, but gay and free, 
A warrior and a reveller ; he dwelt not 
With books and solitude, nor made the night 
A gloomy vigil, but a festal time, 
Merrier than day ; he did not walk the rocks 
And forests like a wolf, nor turn aside 
From men and their delights. 

Her. Beshrew the hour, 

But those were jocund times ! I would that such 
Would visit the old walls again ; they look 
As if they had forgotten them. 

c 3 

22 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

Manuel These walls 

Must change their chieftain first. Oh ! I have seen 
Some strange things in these few years.* 

Her. Come, be friendly ; 

Relate me some, to while away our watch : 
I've heard thee darkly speak of an event 
Which happened hereabouts, by this same tower. 

Manuel-. That was a night indeed ! I do remember 
*Twas twilight, as it may be now, and such 
Another evening ; yon red cloud, which rests 
On Eigher's pinnacle, so rested then, 
So like that it might be the same ; the wind 
Was faint and gusty, and the mountain snows 
Began to glitter with the climbing moon ; 
Count Manfred was, as now, within his tower, - 
How occupied, we knew not, but with him 
The sole companion of his wanderings 
And watchings her, whom of all earthly things 
That lived, the only thing he seemed to love, - 
As he, indeed, by blood was bound to do, 
The lady Astarte, his 

Her. Look look the tower 

The tower's on fire. Oh, heavens and earth ! what sound, 
What dreadful sound is that ? [A crash like thunder. 

Manuel. Help, help, there ! to the rescue of the Count, 
The Count's in danger, what ho ! there ! approach ! 

[The Servants, Vassals, and Peasantry approach, stupified 

with terror. 

If there be any of you who have heart 
And love of human kind, and will to aid 
Those in distress pause not but follow me 
The portal's open, follow. [MANUEL goes in. 

Her. Come who follows ? 

What, none of ye ? ye recreants ! shiver then 

* Altered in the present form, to 4< some strange things in 
them, Herman." 



Without. I will not see old Manuel risk 

His few remaining years unaided. [HERMAN goes in. 

Vassal. Hark ! 

No all is silent not a breath the flame 
Which shot forth such a blaze is also gone ; 
What may this mean ? Let's enter ! 

Peasant. Faith, not I, 

Not that, if one, or two, or more, will join, 
I then will stay behind ; but, for my part, 
I do not see precisely to what end. 

Vassal. Cease your vain prating come. 

Manuel, (speaking within.) 'Tis all in vain 

He's dead. 

Her. (within-} Not so even now methought he moved; 
But it is dark so bear him gently out 
Softly how cold he is ! take care of his temples 
In winding down the staircase. 

Re-enter MANUEL and HERMAN, bearing MANFRED in their arms. 

Manuel. Hie to the castle, some of ye, and bring 
What aid you can. Saddle the barb, and speed 
For the leech to the city quick ! some water there ! 
Her. His cheek is black but there is a faint beat 
Still lingering about the heart. Some water. 

[They sprinkle MANFRED with water ; after a pause, 

he gives some signs of life. 
Manuel He seems to strive to speak come cheerly, 

Count ! 

He moves his lips canst hear him? I am old, 
And cannot catch faint sounds. 

[HERMAN inclining his head and listening. 
Her. I hear a word 

Or two but indistinctly what is next? 
What's to be done? let's bear him to the castle. 

[MANFRED motions with his hand not to remove him. 
Manuel. He disapproves and 'twere of no avail 
He changes rapidly. 

Her. 'Twill soon be over. 

C 4 

24" NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

Manuel. Oh ! what a death is this ! that I should live 
To shake my gray hairs over the last chief 
Of the house of Sigismund. And such a death ! 
Alone we know not how unshrived untended 
With strange accompaniments and fearful signs 
1 shudder at the sight but must not leave him. 

Manfred, (speaking faintly and slowly.) Old man ! 'tis not so 
difficult to die. [MANFRED having said this expires. 

Her. His eyes are fixed and lifeless. He is gone. 

Manuel. Close them. My old hand quivers. He de- 
Whither ? I dread to think but he is gone ! 


" Rome, May 9. 1817. 

" Address all answers to Venice ; for there I shall 
return in fifteen days, God willing. 

" I sent you from Florence The Lament of Tasso,* 
and from Rome the third Act of Manfred, both of 
which, I trust, will duly arrive. The terms of these 
two I mentioned in my last, and will repeat in this . 
it is three hundred for each, or six hundred guineas 
for the two that is, if you like, and they are good 
for any thing. 

" At last one of the parcels is arrived. In the 
.notes to Childe Harold there is a blunder of yours 
or mine : you talk of arrival at St. Gingo, and, im- 
mediately after, add 'on the height is the Cha- 
teau of Clarens.' This is sad work : Clarens is on 
the other side of the Lake, and it is quite impossible 
that I should have so bungled. Look at the MS. ; 
and at any rate rectify it. 



The Tales of my Landlord ' I have read with 
great pleasure, and perfectly understand now why my 
sister and aunt are so very positive in the very erro- 
neous persuasion that they must have been written 
by me. If you knew me as well as they do, you 
would have fallen, perhaps, into the same mistake. 
Some day or other, I will explain to you why when 
I have time ; at present, it does not much matter ; 
but you must have thought this blunder of theirs 
very odd, and so did I, till I had read the book* 
Croker's letter to you is a very great compliment ; I 
shall return it to you in my next. 

" I perceive you are publishing a Life of Raffael 
d'Urbino : it may perhaps interest you to hear that 
a set of German artists here allow their hair to 
grow, and trim it into his fashion, thereby drinking 
the cummin of the disciples of the old philosopher ; if 
they would cut their hair, convert it into brushes, 
and paint like him, it would be more < German to 
the matter.' 

" I'll tell you a story: the other day, a man here 
an English mistaking the statues of Charlemagne 
and Constantine, which are equestrian, for those of 
Peter and Paul, asked another which was Paul of 
these same horsemen ? to which the reply was, 
< I thought, sir, that St. Paul had never got on 
horseback since his accident 9 ' 

" I'll tell you another : Henry Fox, writing to some 
one from Naples the other day, after an illness, adds 
' and I am so changed, that my oldest creditors 
would hardly know me.' 

" I am delighted with Rome as I would be with 

26 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

a bandbox, that is, it is a fine thing to see, finer than 
Greece ; but I have not been here long enough to 
affect it as a residence, and I must go back to Lom- 
bardy, because I am wretched at being away from 
Marianna. I have been riding my saddle-horses 
every day, and been to Albano, its Lakes, and to 
the top of the Alban Mount, and to Frescati, Aricia, 
c. &c. with an &c. &c. &c. about the city, and in the 
city : for all which vide Guide-book. As a whole, 
ancient and modern, it beats Greece, Constantinople, 
every thing at least that I have ever seen. But I 
can't describe, because my first impressions are 
always strong and confused, and my memory selects 
and reduces them to order, like distance in the land- 
scape, and blends them better, although they may 
be less distinct. There must be a sense or two more 
than we have, us mortals ; for ***** where there 
is much to be grasped we are always at a loss, and 
yet feel that we ought to have a higher and more 
extended comprehension. 

" I have had a letter from Moore, who is in some 
alarm about his poem. I don't see why. 

" I have had another from my poor dear Augusta, 
who is in a sad fuss about my late illness ; do, pray, 
tell her (the truth) that I am better than ever, and 
in importunate health, growing (if not grown) large 
and ruddy, and congratulated by impertinent per- 
sons on my robustious appearance, when I ought to 
be pale and interesting. 

" You tell me that George Byron has got a son, 
and Augusta says, a daughter; which is it? it is 
no great matter : the father is a good man, an ex- 


cellent officer, and has married a very nice little 
woman, who will bring him more babes than income ; 
howbeit she had a handsome dowry, and is a very 
charming girl ; but he may as well get a ship. 

" I have no thoughts of coming amongst you yet 
awhile, so that I can fight off business. If I could 
but make a tolerable sale of Newstead, there would 
be no occasion for my return ; and I can assure you 
very sincerely, that I am much happier (or, at least, 
have been so) out of your island than in it. 

" Yours ever. 

" P. S. There are few English here, but several of 
my acquaintance ; amongst others, the Marquis of 
Lansdowne, with whom I dine to-morrow. I met 
the Jerseys on the road at Foligno all well. 

Oh I forgot the Italians have printed Chillon, 
&c. a piracy, a pretty little edition, prettier than 
yours and published, as I found to my great 
astonishment on arriving here ; and what is odd, is, 
that the English is quite correctly printed. Why 
they did it, or who did it, I know not ; but so it is ; 
I suppose, for the English people. I will send 
you a copy." 


" Rome, May 12. 1817. 

" I have received your letter here, where I have 
taken a cruise lately; but I shall return back to 
Venice in a few days, so that if you write again, 
address there, as usual. I am not for returning to 

28 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

England so soon as you imagine ; and by no means 
at all as a residence. If you cross the Alps in your 
projected expedition, you will find me somewhere 
in Lombardy, and very glad to see you. Only give 
me a word or two beforehand, for I would readily 
diverge some leagues to meet you. 

" Of Rome I say nothing ; it is quite indescrib- 
able, and the Guide-book is as good as any other. 
I dined yesterday with Lord Lansdowne, who is 
on his return. But there are few English here at 
present ; the winter is their time. I have been 
on horseback most of the day, all days since my 
arrival, and have taken it as I did Constantinople. 
But Rome is the elder sister, and the finer. I went 
some days ago to the top of the Alban Mount, 
which is superb. As for the Coliseum, Pantheon, 
St. Peter's, the Vatican, Palatine, &c. &c. as I 
said, vide Guide-book. They are quite inconceivable, 
and must be seen. The Apollo Belvidere is the image 
of Lady Adelaide Forbes I think I never saw such 
a likeness. 

" I have seen the Pope alive, and a cardinal dead, 
both of whom looked very well indeed. The 
latter was in state in the Chiesa Nuova, previous to 
his interment. 

" Your poetical alarms are groundless ; go on and 
prosper. Here is Hobhouse just come in, and my 
horses at the door, so that I must mount and take 
the field in the Campus Martius, which, by the way, 
is all built over by modern Rome. 

" Yours very and ever, &c. 


P. S. Hobhouse presents his remembrances, 
and is eager, with all the world, for your new 


" Venice, May 30. 1817. 

" I returned from Rome two days ago, and have 
received your letter ; but no sign nor tidings of the 
parcel sent through Sir C. Stuart, which you men- 
tion. After an interval of months, a packet of * Tales,' 
&c. found me at Rome ; but this is all, and may be 
all that ever will find me. The post seems to be 
the only sure conveyance ; and that only for letters. 
From Florence I sent you a poem on Tasso, and 
from Rome the new third Act of ' Manfred,' and 
by Dr. Polidori two portraits for my sister. I left 
Rome and made a rapid journey home. You will 
continue to direct here as usual. Mr. Hobhouse is 
gone to Naples : I should have run down there too 
for a week, but for the quantity of English whom I 
heard of there. I prefer hating them at a distance ; 
unless an earthquake, or a good real irruption of 
Vesuvius, were ensured to reconcile me to their 

" The day before I left Rome I saw three robbers 
guillotined. The ceremony including the masqued 
priests ; the half-naked executioners ; the bandaged 
criminals ; the black Christ and his banner ; the 
scaffold ; the soldiery ; the slow procession, and the 
quick rattle and heavy fall of the axe ; the splash 
of the blood, and the ghastliness of the exposed 

30 NOTICES OF THE 1817., 

heads is altogether more impressive than the 
vulgar and ungentlemanly dirty * new drop/ and 
dog-like agony of infliction upon the sufferers of the 
English sentence. Two of these men behaved 
calmly enough, but the first of the three died with 
great terror and reluctance. What was very hor- 
rible, he would not lie down ; then his neck was too 
large for the aperture, and the priest was obliged to 
drown his exclamations by still louder exhortations. 
The head was off before the eye could trace the 
blow ; but from an attempt to draw back the head, 
notwithstanding it was held forward by the hair, the 
first head was cut off close to the ears : the other 
two were taken off more cleanly. It is better than 
the oriental way, and (I should think) than the axe 
of our ancestors. The pain seems little, and yet the 
effect to the spectator, and the preparation to the 
criminal, is very striking and chilling. The first 
turned me quite hot and thirsty, and made me shake 
so that I could hardly hold the opera-glass (I was 
close, but was determined to see, as one should see 
every thing, once, with attention) ; the second and 
third (which shows how dreadfully soon things grow 
indifferent), I am ashamed to say, had no effect on 
me as a horror, though I would have saved them if 
I could. Yours," c. 


" Venice, June 4. 1817. 

" I have received the proofs of the * Lament of 
Tasso,' which makes me hope that you have also 


received the reformed third Act of Manfred, from 
Rome, which I sent soon after my arrival there. 
My date will apprise you of my return home within 
these few days. For me, I have received none of 
your packets, except, after long delay, the i Tales 
of my Landlord,' which I before acknowledged. I 
do not at all understand the why nots, but so it is ; 
no Manuel, no letters, no tooth-powder, no extract 
from Moore's Italy concerning Marino Faliero, no 
NOTHING as a man hallooed out at one of Burdett's 
elections, after a long ululatus of * No Bastille ! No 
governor-ities I No ' God knows who or what ; 
but his ne plus ultra was, ' No nothing !' and my 
receipts of your packages amount to about his 
meaning. I want the extract from Moore's Italy 
very much, and the tooth-powder, and the magnesia; 
I don't care so much about the poetry, or the letters, 
or Mr. Maturin's by-Jasus tragedy. Most of the 
things sent by the post have come I mean proofs 
and letters; therefore send me Marino Faliero by 
the post, in a letter. 

" I was delighted with Rome, and was on horseback 
all round it many hours daily, besides in it the rest 
of my time, bothering over its marvels. I excursed 
and skirred the country round to Alba, Tivoli, Fres- 
cati, Licenza, &c. &c. ; besides, I visited twice the 
Fall of Terni, which beats every thing. On my way 
back, close to the temple by its banks, I got some 
famous trout out of the river Clitumnus the 
prettiest little stream in all poesy, near the first 
post from Foligno and Spoletto. I did not stay at 
Florence, being anxious to get home to Venice, and 

32 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

having already seen the galleries and other sights. 
I left my commendatory letters the evening before 
I went, so I saw nobody. 

" To-day, Pindemonte, the celebrated poet of 
Verona, called on me ; he is a little thin man, with 
acute and pleasing features ; his address good and 
gentle; his appearance altogether very philosophical; 
his age about sixty, or more. He is one of their 
best going. I gave him Forsyth, as he speaks, or 
reads rather, a little English, and will find there a 
favourable account of himself. He enquired after 
his old Cruscan friends, Parsons, Greathead, Mrs. 
Piozzi, and Merry, all of whom he had known in his 
youth. I gave him as bad an account of them as I 
could, answering, as the false ' Solomon Lob' does 
to ' Totterton' in the farce, * all gone dead/ and 
damned by a satire more than twenty years ago ; 
that the name of their extinguisher was Gifford; 
that they were but a sad set of scribes after all, and 
no great things in any other way. He seemed, as 
was natural, very much pleased with this account 
of his old acquaintances, and went away greatly 
gratified with that and Mr. Forsyth's sententious 
paragraph of applause in his own (Pindemonte's) 
favour. After having been a little libertine in his 
youth, he is grown devout, and takes prayers, and 
talks to himself, to keep off the devil ; but for all 
that, he is a very nice little old gentleman. 

" I forgot to tell you that at Bologna (which 
is celebrated for producing popes, painters, and 
sausages) I saw an anatomical gallery, where there 
is a deal of waxwork, in which * *. 


" I am sorry to hear of your row with Hunt ; but 
suppose him to be exasperated by the Quarterly and 
your refusal to deal ; and when one is angry and 
edites a paper, I should think the temptation too 
strong for literary nature, which is not always 
human. I can't conceive in what, and for what, he 
abuses you : what have you done ? you are not an 
author, nor a politician, nor a public character ; I 
know no scrape you have tumbled into. I am the 
more sorry for this because I introduced you to 
Hunt, and because I believe him to be a good man ; 
but till I know the particulars, I can give no opinion. 

" Let me know about Lalla Rookh, which must 
be out by this time. 

" I restore the proofs, but the punctuation should 
be corrected. I feel too lazy to have at it n^self ; 
so beg and pray Mr. Gifford for me. Address to 
Venice. In a few days I go to my villeggiatura, in 
a cassino near the Brenta, a few miles only on the 
main land. I have determined on another year, and 
many years of residence if I can compass them. 
Marianna is with me, hardly recovered of the fever, 
which has been attacking all Italy last winter. I am 
afraid she is a little hectic ; but I hope the best. 

Ever, &c. 

" P. S. Torwaltzen has done a bust of me at 
Rome for Mr. Hobhouse, which is reckoned very 
good. He is their best after Canova, and by some 
preferred to him. 

" I have had a letter from Mr. Hodgson. He is 
very happy, has got a living, but not a child : if he 



had stuck to a curacy, babes would have come of 
course, because he could not have maintained them. 

" Remember me to all friends, &c. &c. 

" An Austrian officer, the other day, being in love 
with a Venetian, was ordered, with his regiment, 
into Hungary. Distracted between love and duty, 
lie purchased a deadly drug, which dividing with his 
mistress, both swallowed. The ensuing pains were 
terrific, but the pills were purgative, and not poison- 
ous, by the contrivance of the unsentimental apothe- 
cary ; so that so much suicide was all thrown away. 
You may conceive the previous confusion and the 
final laughter; but the intention was good on all 


" Venice, June 8. 1817. 

" The present letter will be delivered to you by 
two Armenian friars, on their way, by England, to 
Madras. They will also convey some copies of the 
grammar, which I think you agreed to take. If you 
can be of any use to them, either amongst your 
naval or East Indian acquaintances, I hope you will 
so far oblige me, as they and their order have been 
remarkably attentive and friendly towards me since 
my arrival at Venice. Their names are Father 
Sukias Somalian and Father Sarkis Theodorosian. 
They speak Italian, and probably French, or a little 
English. Repeating earnestly my recommendatory 
request, believe me, very truly, yours, 



" Perhaps you can help them to their passage, or 
give or get them letters for India." 


" La Mira, near Venice, June 14. 1817. 

" I write to you from the banks of the Brenta, a 
few miles from Venice, where I have colonised for 
six months to come. Address, as usual, to Venice. 

" Three months after date (17th March), like 
the unnegotiable bill despondingly received by the 
reluctant tailor, your despatch has arrived, con- 
taining the extract from Moore's Italy and Mr. 
Maturin's bankrupt tragedy. It is the absurd work 
of a clever man. I think it might have done upon 
the stage, if he had made Manuel (by some trickery, 
in a masque or vizor) fight his own battle, instead 
of employing Molineux as his champion ; and, after 
the defeat of Torismond, have made him spare tne 
son of his enemy, by some revulsion of feeling, not 
incompatible with a character of extravagant and 
distempered emotions. But as it is, what with the 
Justiza, and the ridiculous conduct of the whole 
dram. pers. (for they are all as mad as Manuel, who 
surely must have had more interest with a corrupt 
bench than a distant relation and heir presumptive, 
somewhat suspect of homicide,) I do not wonder 
at its failure. As a play, it is impracticable ; as a 
poem, no great things. Who was the * Greek that 
grappled with glory naked ? ' the Olympic wrestlers ? 
or Alexander the Great, when he ran stark round 
the tomb of t'other fellow? or the Spartan who was 
D 2 

36 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

fined by the Ephori for fighting without his armour? 
or who? And as to ' flaying off life like a garment/ 
helas ! that's in Tom Thumb see king Arthur's 
soliloquy : 

" ' Life's a mere rag, not worth a prince's wearing ; 
I'll cast it off.' 

And the stage-directions * Staggers among the 
bodies ;' the slain are too numerous, as well as the 
blackamoor knights-penitent being one too many: 
and De Zelos is such a shabby Monmouth Street 
villain, without any redeeming quality Stap my 
vitals I Maturin seems to be declining into Nat. Lee. 
But let him try again ; he has talent, but not much 
taste. I 'gin to fear, or to hope, that Sotheby, after 
all, is to be the Eschylus of the age, unless Mr. Shiel 
be really worthy his success. The more I see of 
the stage, the less I would wish to have any thing 
to do with it ; as a proof of which, I hope you have 
received the third Act of Manfred, which will at 
least prove that I wish to steer very clear of the 
possibility of being put into scenery. I sent it from 

" I returned the proof of Tasso. By the way, 
have you never received a translation of St. Paul 
which I sent you, not for publication, before I went 
to Rome? 

" I am at present on the Brenta. Opposite is a 
Spanish marquis, ninety years old ; next his casino 
is a Frenchman's, besides the natives ; so that, as 
somebody said the other day, we are exactly one of 
Goldoni's comedies (La Vedova Scaltra), where a 


Spaniard, English, and Frenchman are introduced : 
but we are all very good neighbours, Venetians, &c. 
&c. &c. 

" I am just getting on horseback for my evening 
ride, and a visit to a physician, who has an agreeable 
family, of a wife and four unmarried daughters, all 
under eighteen, who are friends of Signora S * *, 
and enemies to nobody. There are, and are to be, 
besides, conversaziones and I know not what, a 
Countess Labbia's and I know not whom. The 
weather is mild; the thermometer 110 in the sun 
this day, and 80 odd in the shade. Yours, &c. 

" N." 


" La Mira, near Venice, June 17. 1817. 

" It gives me great pleasure to hear of Moore's 
success, and the more so that I never doubted that 
ft would be complete. Whatever good you can tell 
me of him and his poem will be most acceptable : I 
feel very anxious indeed to receive it. I hope that 
he is as happy in his fame and reward as I wish him 
to be ; for I know no one who deserves both more 
if any so much. 

" Now to business ; ******! say unto you, 
verily, it is not so; or, as the foreigner said to 
the waiter, after asking him to bring a glass of 
water, to which the man answered, ' I will, sir, ' 
* You will! G d d n, I say, you mush!' 
And I will submit this to the decision of any person 
or persons to be appointed by both, on a fair examin- 
D 3 


ation of the circumstances of this as compared with 
the preceding publications. So there's for you. 
There is always some row or other previously to all 
our publications : it should seem that, on approxi- 
mating, we can never quite get over the natural an- 
tipathy of author and bookseller, and that more par- 
ticularly the ferine nature of the latter must break 

" You are out about the third Canto : I have not 
done, nor designed, a line of continuation to that 
poem. I was too short a time at Rome for it, and 
have no thought of recommencing. 

" I cannot well explain to you by letter what I con- 
ceive to be the origin of Mrs. Leigh's notion about 
' Tales of my Landlord ;' but it is some points of 
the characters of Sir E. Manley and Burley, as well 
as one or two of the jocular portions, on which it is 
founded, probably. 

" If you have received Dr. Polidori as well as a 
parcel of books, and you can be of use to him, be so. 
I never was much more disgusted with any human 
production than with the eternal nonsense, and tra- 
casseries, and emptiness, and ill humour, and vanity 
of that young person ; but he has some talent, and is 
a man of honour, and has dispositions of amendment, 
in which he has been aided by a little subsequent 
experience, and may turn out well. Therefore, use 
your government interest for him, for he is improved 
and improvable. 

" Yours," &c. 



" La Mira, near Venice, June 18. 1817. 

" Enclosed is a letter to Dr. Holland from Pin- 
demonte. Not knowing the Doctor's address, I am 
desired to enquire, and, perhaps, being a literary man, 
you will know or discover his haunt near some popu- 
lous churchyard. I have written to you a scolding 
letter I believe, upon a misapprehended passage 
in your letter but never mind : it will do for next 
time, and you will surely deserve it. Talking of 
doctors reminds me once more to recommend to you 
one who will not recommend himself, the Doctor 
Polidori. If you can help him to a publisher, do ; 
or, if you have any sick relation, I would advise his 
advice : all the patients he had in Italy are dead 
Mr. * *'s son, Mr. Homer, and Lord G * *, whom 
he embowelled with great success at Pisa. 

" Remember me to Moore, whom I congratulate. 
How is Rogers ? and what is become of Campbell 
and all t'other fellows of the Druid order ? I got 
Maturin's Bedlam at last, but no other parcel ; I am 
in fits for the tooth-powder, and the magnesia. I 
want some of Burkitt's soda-powders. Will you tell 
Mr. Kinnaird that I have written him two letters on 
pressing business, (about Newstead, &c.) to which I 
humbly solicit his attendance. I am just returned 
from a gallop along the banks of the Brenta time, 
sunset. Yours, 


D 4- 

40 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 


" La Mira, near Venice, July 1. 1817. 

" Since my former letter, I have been working up 
my impressions into a fourth Canto of Childe 
Harold, of which I have roughened off about rather 
better than thirty stanzas, and mean to go on ; and 
probably to make this ' Fytte ' the concluding one of 
the poem, so that you may propose against the 
autumn to draw out the conscription for 1818. You 
must provide moneys, as this new resumption bodes 
you certain disbursements. Somewhere about the 
end of September or October, I propose to be under 
way (f. e. in the press) ; but I have no idea yet of 
the probable length or calibre of the Canto, or what 
it will be good for ; but I mean to be as mercenary 
as possible, an example (I do not mean of any indi- 
vidual in particular, and least of all, any person or 
persons of our mutual acquaintance) which I should 
have followed in my youth, and I might still have 
been a prosperous gentleman. 

" No tooth-powder, no letters, no recent tidings 
of you. 

" Mr. Lewis is at Venice, and I am going up to 
stay a week with him there as it is one of his en- 
thusiasms also to like the city. 

" I stood in Venice on the ' Bridge of Sighs,' &c. &c. 

" The ' Bridge of Sighs ' (i. e. Ponte de'i Sospiri) 
is thatwhich divides, or rather joins, the palace of the 
Doge to the prison of the state. It has two pas- 
sages : the criminal went by the one to judgment, 


and returned by the other to death, being strangled 
in a chamber adjoining, where there was a mechani- 
cal process for the purpose. 

" This is the first stanza of our new Canto ; and 
now for a line of the second : 

" In Venice, Tasso's echoes are no more, 
And silent rows the songless gondolier, 
Her palaces, &c. &c. 

" You know that formerly the gondoliers sung 
always, and Tasso's Gierusalemme was their ballad. 
Venice is built on seventy-two islands. 

" There ! there's a brick of your new Babel ! and 
now, sirrah ! what say you to the sample ? 

" Yours, &c. 

" P. S. I shall write again by and by." 


" La Mira, near Venice, July 8. 1817 

" If you can convey the enclosed letter to its 
address, or discover the person to whom it is directed, 
you will confer a favour upon the Venetian creditor 
of a deceased Englishman. This epistle is a dun 
to his executor, for house-rent. The name of the 
insolvent defunct is, or was, Porter Valter, according 
to tl e account of the plaintiff, which I rather suspect 
ought to be Walter Porter, according to our mode of 
collocation. If you are acquainted with any dead 
man cf the like name a good deal in debt, pray dig 
him up, and tell him that * a pound of his fair flesh ' 
or the ducats are required, and that ' if you deny 
them, fie upon your law ! ' 

42 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

" I hear nothing more from you about Moore's 
poem, Rogers, or other literary phenomena ; but to- 
morrow, being post-day, will bring perhaps some 
tidings. I write to you with people talking Venetian 
all about, so that you must not expect this letter to 
be all English. 

" The other day, I had a squabble on the highway, 
as follows : I was riding pretty quickly from Dolo 
home about eight in the evening, when I passed a 
party of people in a hired carriage, one of whom, 
poking his head out of the window, began bawling to 
me in an inarticulate but insolent manner. I wheeled 
my horse round, and overtaking, stopped the coach, 
and said, * Signer, have you any commands for me?' 
He replied, impudently as to manner, * No.' I then 
asked him what he meant by that unseemly noise, to 
the discomfiture of the passers-by. He replied by 
some piece of impertinence, to which I answered by 
giving him a violent slap in the face. I then dis- 
mounted, (for this passed at the window, I being on 
horseback still,) and opening the door desired him to 
walk out, or I would give him another. But the first 
had settled him except as to words, of which he 
poured forth a profusion in blasphemies, swearing 
that he would go to the police and avouch a battery 
sans provocation. I said he lied, and was a * *, and 
if he did not hold his tongue, should be dragged out 
and beaten anew. He then held his tongue. I of 
course told him my name and residence, and defied 
him to the death, if he were a gentleman, oc not a 
gentleman, and had the inclination to be genteel in 
the way of combat. He went to the police, bat there 


having been bystanders in the road, particularly a 
soldier, who had seen the business, as well as my 
servant, notwithstanding the oaths of the coachman 
and five insides besides the plaintiff, and a good deal 
of paying on all sides, his complaint was dismissed, 
he having been the aggressor; and I was subse- 
quently informed that, had I not given him a blow,, 
he might have been had into durance. 

" So set down this, * that in Aleppo once ? I 
* beat a Venetian ; ' but I assure you that he de- 
served it, for I am a quiet man, like Candide, though 
with somewhat of his fortune in being forced to 
forego my natural meekness every now and then. 
" Yours, &c. B." 


Venice, July 9. 1817. 

" I have got the sketch and extracts from Lalla 
Ilookh. The plan, as well as the extracts, I have 
seen, please me very much indeed, and I feel impa- 
tient for the whole. 

"With regard to the critique on ' Manfred,' you 
have been in such a devil of a hurry, that you have 
only sent me the half: it breaks oif at page 294. 
Send me the rest ; and also page 270., where there 
is ( an account of the supposed origin of this dread- 
ful story,' in which, by the way, whatever it may 
be, the conjecturer is out, and knows nothing of the 
matter. I had a better origin than he can devise or 
divine, for the soul of him. 

" You say nothing of Manfred's luck in the world; 

44 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

and I care not. He is one of the best of my misbe- 
gotten, say what they will. 

" I got at last an extract, but no parcels. They 
will come, I suppose, some time or other. I am come 
up to Venice for a day or two to bathe, and am just 
going to take a swim in the Adriatic ; so, good even- 
ing the post waits. Yours, &c. 


" P. S. Pray, was Manfred's speech to the Sun 
still retained in Act third ? I hope so : it was one 
of the best in the thing, and better than the Colos- 
seum. I have done fifty-six of Canto fourth, 
Childe Harold ; so down with your ducats." 


La Mira, Venice, July 10. 1817. 

" Murray, the Mokanna of booksellers, has con- 
trived to send me extracts from Lalla Rookh by the 
post. They are taken from some magazine, and 
contain a short outline and quotations from the 
two first Poems. I am very much delighted with 
what is before me, and very thirsty for the rest. 
You have caught the colours as if you had been in 
the rainbow, and the tone of the East is perfectly 
preserved. I am glad you have changed the title 
from * Persian Tale.' 

" I suspect you have written a devilish fine com- 
position, and 1 rejoice in it from my heart ; because 
* the Douglas and the Percy both together are con- 
fident against a world in arms/ I hope you won't 


be affronted at my looking on us as * birds of a 
feather;' though on whatever subject you had 
written, I should have been very happy in your suc- 

" There is a simile of an orange-tree's * flowers 
and fruits/ which I should have liked better if I did 
not believe it to be a reflection on * * *. 

" Do you remember Thurlow's poem to Sam 
* When Rogers ;' and that d d supper of Rancliffe's 
that ought to have been a dinner ? * Ah, Master 
Shallow, we have heard the chimes at midnight.' 

" My boat is on the shore, 

And my bark is on the sea ; 
But, before I go, Tom Moore, 
Here's a double health to thee ! 

" Here's a sigh to those who love me, 

And a smile to those who hate ; 
And whatever sky's above me, 
Here's a heart for every fate. 

" Though the ocean roar around me, 

Yet it still shall bear me on ; 
Though a desert should surround me, 
It hath springs that may be won. 

" Were't the last drop in the well, 

As I gasp'd upon the brink, 
Ere my fainting spirit fell, 

'Tis to thee that I would drink. 

" With that water, as this wine, 
The libation I would pour, 
Should be peace with thine and mine, 
And a health to thee, Tom Moore. 

46 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

" This should have been written fifteen moons ago 
the first stanza was. I am just come out from an 
hour's swim in the Adriatic ; and I write to you 
with a black-eyed Venetian girl before me, reading 

" Last week I had a row on the road (I came up 
to Venice from my casino, a few miles on the Pa- 
duan road, this blessed day, to bathe) with a fellow 
in a carriage, who was impudent to my horse. I 
gave him a swingeing box on the ear, which sent 
him to the police, who dismissed his complaint. 
Witnesses had seen the transaction. He first shout- 
ed, in an unseemly way, to frighten my palfry. I 
wheeled round, rode up to the window, and asked 
him what he meant. He grinned, and said some 
foolery, which produced him an immediate slap in 
the face, to his utter discomfiture. Much blas- 
phemy ensued, and some menace, which I stopped 
by dismounting and opening the carriage door, and 
intimating an intention of mending the road with 
his immediate remains, if he did not hold his tongue. 
He held it. 

" Monk Lewis is here * how pleasant!'* He 
is a very good fellow, and very much yours. So is 
Sam so is every body and amongst the number, 

" Yours ever, 


" P. S. What think you of Manfred?" 

* An allusion (such as often occurs in these letters) to an 
anecdote with which he had been amused. 



La Mira, near Venice, July 15. 1817. 

" I have finished (that is, written the file comes 
afterwards) ninety and eight stanzas of the fourth 
Canto, which I mean to be the concluding one. It 
will probably be about the same length as the third, 
being already of the dimensions of the first or second 
Cantos. I look upon parts of it as very good, that 
is, if the three former are good, but this we shall 
see ; and at any rate, good or not, it is rather a dif- 
ferent style from the last less metaphysical 
which, at any rate, will be a variety. I sent you the 
shaft of the column as a specimen the other day, i. e. 
the first stanza. So you may be thinking of its ar- 
rival towards autumn, whose winds will not be the 
only ones to be raised, if so be as how that it is ready 
by that time. 

"I lent Lewis, who is at Venice, (in or on the Canal- 
accio, the Grand Canal,) your extracts from Lalla 
Rookh and Manuel *, and, out of contradiction, it 
may be, he likes the last, and is not much taken with 
the first, of these performances. Of Manuel, I think, 
with the exception of a few capers, it is as heavy a 
nightmare as was ever bestrode by indigestion. 

" Of the extracts I can but judge as extracts, 
and I prefer the Peri ' to the ' Silver Veil.' He 
seems not so much at home in his versification of the 
* Silver Veil,' and a little embarrassed with his 
horrors ; but the conception of the character of the 

* A tragedy, by the Rev. Mr. Maturin. . 

4-3 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

impostor is fine, and the plan of great scope for his 
genius, and I doubt not that, as a whole, it will 
be very Arabesque and beautiful. 

" Your late epistle is not the most abundant in in- 
formation, and has not yet been succeeded by any 
other ; so that I know nothing of your own concerns, 
or of any concerns, and as I never hear from any body 
but yourself who does not tell me something as dis- 
agreeable as possible, I should not be sorry to hear 
from you : and as it is not very probable, if I can, 
by any device or possible arrangement with regard 
to my persorial affairs, so arrange it, that I shall 
return soon, or reside ever in England, all that you 
tell me will be all I shall know or enquire after, as 
to our beloved realm of Grub Street, and the black 
brethren and blue sisterhood of that extensive 
suburb of Babylon. Have you had no new babe of 
literature sprung up to replace the dead, the distant, 
the tired, and the retired ? no prose, no verse, no 


" Venice, July 20. 1817. 

" I write to give you notice that I have completed 
tine fourth and ultimate Canto of Childe Harold. It 
consists of 126 stanzas, and is consequently the 
longest of the four. It is yet to be copied and 
polished ; and the notes are to come, of which it 
will require more than the third Canto, as it neces- 
sarily treats more of works of art than of nature. It 
shall be sent towards autumn; and now for our 


barter. What do you bid? eh? you shall have, 
samples, an' it so please you: but I wish to know 
what I am to expect (as the saying is) in these hard 
times, when poetry does not let for half its value. 
If you are disposed to do what Mrs. Winifred Jenkins 
calls * the handsome thing,' I may perhaps throw you 
some odd matters to the lot, translations, or slight 
originals; there is no saying what may be on the 
anvil between this and the booking season. Recol- 
lect that it is the last Canto, and completes the work ; 
whether as good as the others, I cannot judge, in 
course least of all as yet, but it shall be as little 
worse as I can help. I may, perhaps, give some 
little gossip in the notes as to the present state of 
Italian literati and literature, being acquainted with 
some of their capi men as well as books ; but 
this depends upon my humour at the time. So, now, 
pronounce : I say nothing. 

" When you have got the whole four Cantos, I 
think you might venture on an edition of the whole 
poem in quarto, with spare copies of the two last for 
the purchasers of the old edition of the first two. 
There is a hint for you, worthy of the Row ; and 
now, perpend - pronounce. 

" I have not received a word from you of the fate 
of * Manfred' or * Tasso,' which seems to me odd, 
whether they have failed or succeeded. 

" As this is a scrawl of business, arid I have lately 
written at length and often on other subjects, I will 
only add that I am," &c. 


50 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 


" La Mira, near Venice, August 7. 1817 
" Your letter of the 18th, and, what will please 
you, as it did me, the parcel sent by the good-natured 
aid and abetment of Mr. Croker, are arrived. 
Messrs. Lewis and Hobhouse are here : the former 
in the same house, the latter a few hundred yards 

" You say nothing of Manfred, from which its 
failure may be inferred; but I think it odd you 
should not say so at once. I know nothing, and 
hear absolutely nothing, of any body or any thing in 
England ; and there are no English papers, so that 
all you say will be news of any person, or thing, 
or things. I am at present very anxious about 
Newstead, and sorry that Kinnaird is leaving 
England at this minute, though I do not tell him so, 
and would rather he should have his pleasure, 
although it may not in this instance tend to my 

" If I understand rightly, you have paid into Mor- 
land's 1500 pounds: as the agreement in the paper 
is two thousand guineas, there will remain therefore 
six hundred pounds, and not five hundred, the odd 
hundred being the extra to make up the specie. 
Six hundred and thirty pounds will bring it to the 
like for Manfred and Tasso, making a total of 
twelve hundred and thirty, I believe, for I am not a 
good calculator. I do not wish to press you, but I 
tell you fairly that it will be a convenience to me to 




have it paid as soon as it can be made convenient to 

" The new and last Canto is 130 stanzas in length ; 
and may be made more or less. I have fixed no 
price, even in idea, and have no notion of what it 
may be good for. There are no metaphysics in it ; 
at least, I think not. Mr. Hobhouse has promised 
me a copy of Tasso's Will, for notes ; and I have 
some curious things to say about Ferrara, and 
Parisina's story, and perhaps a farthing candle's 
worth of light upon the present state of Italian 
literature. I shall hardly be ready by October ; but 
that don't matter. I have all to copy and correct, 
and the notes to write. 

" 1 do not know whether Scott will like it ; but I 
have called him the * Ariosto of the North' in my 
text. If he should not, say so in time. 

" An Italian translation of' Glenarvon' came lately 
to be printed at Venice. The censor (S r . Petrotini) 
refused to sanction the publication till he had seen 
me on the subject. I told him that I did not recog- 
nise the slightest relation between that book and 
myself; but that, whatever opinions might be upon 
that subject, /would never prevent or oppose the 
publication of any book, in any language, on my own 
private account ; and desired him (against his incli- 
nation) to permit the poor translator to publish his 
labours. It is going forwards in consequence. You 
may say this, with my compliments, to the author. 

" Yours. " 

E 2 

52 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 


" Venice, August 12. 1817. 

" I have been very sorry to hear of the death of 
Madame de Stael, not only because she had been 
very kind to me at Copet, but because now I can 
never requite her. In a general point of view, she 
will leave a great gap in society and literature. 

" With regard to death, I doubt that we have any 
right to pity the dead for their own sakes. 

" The copies of Manfred and Tasso are arrived, 
thanks to Mr. Croker's cover. You have destroyed 
the whole effect and moral of the poem by omitting 
the last line of Manfred's speaking ; and why this 
was done, I know not. Why you persist in saying 
nothing of the thing itself, I am equally at a loss to 
conjecture. If it is for fear of telling me something 
disagreeable, you are wrong ; because sooner or later 
I must know it, and I am not so new, nor so raw, nor 
so inexperienced, as not to be able to bear, not the 
mere paltry, petty disappointments of authorship, 
but things more serious, at least I hope so, and 
that what you may think irritability is merely 
mechanical, and only acts like galvanism on a 
dead body, or the muscular motion which survives 

" If it is that you are out of humour, because I 
wrote to you a sharp letter, recollect that it was 
partly from a misconception of your letter, and 
partly because you did a thing you had no right to 
do without consulting me. 

" I have, however, heard good of Manfred from 


two other quarters, and from men who would not be 
scrupulous in saying what they thought, or what was 
said ; and so good morrow to you, good Master 

" I wrote to you twice about the fourth Canto, 
which you will answer at your pleasure. Mr. Hob- 
house and I have come up for a day to the city ; 
Mr. Lewis is gone to England ; and I am 

" Yours." 


" La Mira, near Venice, August 21. 1817. 
" I take you at your word about Mr. Hanson, and 
will feel obliged if you will go to him, and request 
Mr. Davies also to visit him by my desire, and repeat 
that I trust that neither Mr. Kinnaird's absence nor 
mine will prevent his taking all proper steps to ac- 
celerate and promote the sale of Newstead and 
Rochdale, upon which the whole of my future per- 
sonal comfort depends. It is impossible for me to 
express how much any delays upon these points 
would inconvenience me; and I do not know a 
greater obligation that can be conferred upon me 
than the pressing these things upon Hanson, and 
making him act according to my wishes. I wish 
you would speak out, at least to me, and tell me 
what you allude to by your cold way of mentioning 
him. All mysteries at such a distance are not 
merely tormenting but mischievous, and may be 
prejudicial to my interests ; so, pray expound, that 
I may consult with Mr. Kinnaird when he arrives ; 
E 3 

54- NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

and remember that I prefer the most disagreeable 
certainties to hints and innuendoes. The devil take 
every body : I never can get any person to be ex- 
plicit about any thing or any body, and my whole 
life is passed in conjectures of what people mean : 
you all talk in the style of C * * L * *'s novels. 

" It is not Mr. St. John, but Mr. St. Auhyn> son 
of Sir John St. Aubyn. Polidori knows him, and 
introduced him to me. He is of Oxford, and has 
got my parcel. The Doctor will ferret him out, or 
ought. The parcel contains many letters, some of 
Madame de Stael's, and other people's, besides MSS., 

&c. By , if I find the gentleman, and he don't 

find the parcel, I will say something he won't like 
to hear. 

" You want a ' civil and delicate declension ' for 
the medical tragedy ? Take it 

" Dear Doctor, I have read your play, 
Which is a good one in its way, 
Purges the eyes and moves the bowels, 
And drenches handkerchiefs like towels 
With tears, that, in a flux of grief, 
Afford hysterical relief 
To shatter'd nerves and quicken'd pulses, 
Which your catastrophe convulses. 

" I like your moral and machinery ; 
Your plot, too, has such scope for scenery I 
Your dialogue is apt and smart ; 
The play's concoction full of art ; 
Your hero raves, your heroine cries, 
All stab, and every body dies. 
In short, your tragedy would be 
The very thing to hear and see : 


And for a piece of publication, 

If I decline on this occasion, 

It is not that I am not sensible 

To merits in themselves ostensible, 

But and I grieve to speak it plays 

Are drugs, mere drugs, sir now-a-days. 

I had a heavy loss by ' Manuel,' 

Too lucky if it prove not annual, 

And S * *, with his < Orestes,' 

(Which, by the by, the author's best is,) 

Has lain so very long on hand 

That I despair of all demand. 

I've advertised, but see my books, 

Or only watch my shopman's looks ; 

Still Ivan, Ina, and such lumber, 

My back-shop glut, my shelves encumber. 

" There's Byron too, who once did better, 
Has sent me, folded in a letter, 
A sort of it's no more a drama 
Than Darnley, Ivan, or Kehama; 
So alter'd since last year his pen is, 
I think he's lost his wits at Venice. 
In short, sir, what with one and t'other, 
I dare not venture on another. 
I write in haste ; excuse each blunder ; 
The coaches through the street so thunder ! 
My room's so full we've Gifford here 
Reading MS., with Hookham Frere, 
Pronouncing on the nouns and particles 
Of some of our forthcoming Articles. 

" The Quarterly Ah, sir, if you 
Had but the genius to review ! 
A smart critique upon St. Helena, 
Or if you only would but tell in a 

Short compass what but, to resume : 

As I was saying, sir, the room 
E 4 

56 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

The room 's so full of wits and bards, 

Crabbes, Campbells, Crokers, Freres, and Wards, 

And others, neither bards nor wits : 

My humble tenement admits 

All persons in the dress of gent., 

From Mr. Hammond to Dog Dent. 

" A party dines with me to-day, 
All clever men, who make their way ; 
They 're at this moment in discussion 
On poor De Stael's late dissolution. 
Her book, they say, was in advance 
Pray Heaven, she tell the truth of France ! 

" Thus run our time and tongues away. 
But, to return, sir, to your play : 
Sorry, sir, but I cannot deal, 
Unless 'twere acted by O'Neill. 
My hands so full, my head so busy, 
I 'm almost dead, and always dizzy ; 
And so, with endless truth and hurry, 
Dear Doctor, I am yours, 


" P.S. I've done the fourth arid last Canto, which 
amounts to 133 stanzas. I desire you to name a 
price ; if you don't, /will ; so I advise you in time. 

" Yours, &c. 

" There will be a good many notes." 

Among those minor misrepresentations of which 
it was Lord Byron's fate to be the victim, advantage 
was, at this time, taken of his professed distaste to 
the English, to accuse him of acts of inhospitality, 
and even rudeness, towards some of his fellow- 
countrymen. How far different was his treatment 
of all who ever visited him, many grateful testimonies 


might be collected to prove ; but I shall here con- 
tent myself with selecting a few extracts from an 
account given me by Mr. Henry Joy of a visit which, 
in company with another English gentleman, he paid 
to the noble poet this summer, at his villa on the 
banks of the Brenta. After mentioning the various 
civilities they had experienced from Lord Byron ; 
and, among others, his having requested them to 
name their own day for dining with him, " We 
availed ourselves," says Mr. Joy, " of this considerate 
courtesy by naming the day fixed for our return to 
Padua, when our route would lead us to his door ; 
and we were welcomed with all the cordiality which 
was to be expected from so friendly a bidding. 
Such traits of kindness in such a man deserve to 
be recorded on account of the numerous slanders 
thrown upon him by some of the tribes of tourists, 
who resented, as a personal affront, his resolution to 
avoid their impertinent inroads upon his retirement. 
So far from any appearance of indiscriminate aver- 
sion to his countrymen, his enquiries about his friends 
in England (quorum pars magna fuisti) were most 
anxious and particular. 

" He expressed some opinions," continues my 
informant, " on matters of taste, which cannot fail 
to interest his biographer. He contended that 
Sculpture, as an art, was vastly superior to Paint- 
ing ; a preference which is strikingly illustrated 
by the fact that, in the fourth Canto of Childe 
Harold, he gives the most elaborate and splendid 
account of several statues, and none of any pictures ; 
although Italy is, emphatically, the land of painting, 

58 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

and her best statues are derived from Greece. By 
the way, he told us that there were more objects of 
interest in Rome alone than in all Greece from one 
extremity to the other. After regaling us with an 
excellent dinner, (in which, by the by, a very English 
joint of roast beef showed that he did not extend 
his antipathies to all John-Bullisms,) he took me in 
his carriage some miles of our route towards Padua, 
after apologising to my fellow-traveller for the 
separation, on the score of his anxiety to hear all 
he could of his friends in England ; and I quitted 
him with a confirmed impression of the strong ardour 
and sincerity of his attachment to those by whom 
he did not fancy himself slighted or ill treated." 


" Sept. 4. 1817. 

" Your letter of the 15th has conveyed with its 
contents the impression of a seal, to which the 
' Saracen's Head ' is a seraph, and the * Bull and 
Mouth ' a delicate device. I knew that calumny had 
sufficiently blackened me of later days, but not that 
it had given the features as well as complexion of 
a negro. Poor Augusta is not less, but rather more, 
shocked than myself, and says * people seem to 
have lost their recollection strangely ' when they 
engraved such a ' blackamoor.' Pray don't seal (at 
least to me) with such a caricature of the human 
numskull altogether ; and if you don't break the 
seal-cutter's head, at least crack his libel (or likeness, 
if it should be a likeness) of mine. 


" Mr. Kinnaird is not yet arrived, but expected. 
He has lost by the way all the tooth-powder, as a 
letter from Spa informs me. 

" By Mr. Rose I received safely, though tardily, 
magnesia and tooth-powder, and * * * *. Why do 
you send me such trash worse than trash, the 
Sublime of Mediocrity ? Thanks for Lalla, however, 
which is good ; and thanks for the Edinburgh and 
Quarterly, both very amusing and well-written. 
Paris in 1815, &c. good. Modern Greece good 
for nothing; written by some one who has never 
been there, and not being able to manage the 
Spenser stanza, has invented a thing of his own, 
consisting of two elegiac stanzas, an heroic line, and 
an Alexandrine, twisted on a string. Besides, why 
* modern ? ' You may say modern Greeks, but surely 
Greece itself is rather more ancient than ever it was. 
Now for business. 

" You offer 1500 guineas for the new Canto: I 
won't take it. I ask two thousand five hundred 
guineas for it, which you will either give or not, as 
you think proper. It concludes the poem, and con- 
sists of 144 stanzas. The notes are numerous, and 
chiefly written by Mr. Hobhouse, whose researches 
have been indefatigable; and who, I will venture 
to say, has more real knowledge of Rome and its 
environs than any Englishman who has been there 
since Gibbon. By the way, to prevent any mis- 
takes, I think it necessary to state the fact that he, 
Mr. Hobhouse, has no interest whatever in the price 
or profit to be derived from the copyright of either 
poem or notes directly or indirectly ; so that you 

60 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

are not to suppose that it is by, for, or through him, 
that I require more for this Canto than the pre- 
ceding. No : but if Mr. Eustace was to have had 
two thousand for a poem on Education; if Mr. 
Moore is to have three thousand for Lalla, &c. ; if 
Mr. Campbell is to have three thousand for his prose 
on poetry I don't mean to disparage these gentle- 
men in their labours but I ask the aforesaid price 
for mine. You will tell me that their productions 
are considerably longer: very true, and when they 
shorten them, I will lengthen mine, and ask less. 
You shall submit the MS. to Mr. Gifford, and any 
other two gentlemen to be named by you, (Mr. 
Frere, or Mr. Croker, or whomever you please, ex- 
cept such fellows as your * * s and * * s,) and if 
they pronounce this Canto to be inferior as a whole 
to the preceding, I will not appeal from their award, 
but burn the manuscript, and leave things as they 
are. Yours very truly. 

" P. S. In answer to a former letter, I sent you 
a short statement of what I thought the state of our 
present copyright account, viz. six hundred pounds 
still (or lately) due on Childe Harold, and six hun- 
dred guineas, Manfred and Tasso, making a total of 
twelve hundred and thirty pounds. If we agree 
about the new poem, I shall take the liberty to 
reserve the choice of the manner in which it should 
be published, viz. a quarto, certes." 



" La Mira, Sept. 12. 1817. 

" I set out yesterday morning with the intention 
of paying my respects, and availing myself of your 
permission to walk over the premises.* On arriving 
at Padua, I found that the march of the Austrian 
troops had engrossed so many horses f, that those I 
could procure were hardly able to crawl ; and their 
weakness, together with the prospect of finding none 
at all at the post-house of Monselice, and consequently 
either not arriving that day at Este, or so late as to 
be unable to return home the same evening, induced 
me to turn aside in a second visit to Arqua, instead 
of proceeding onwards ; and even thus I hardly got 
back in time. 

" Next week I shall be obliged to be in Venice to 
meet Lord Kinnaird and his brother, who are 

* A country-house on the Euganean hills, near Este, which 
Mr. Hoppner, who was then the English Consul- General at 
Venice, had for some time occupied, and which Lord Byron 
afterwards rented of him, but never resided in it. 

f So great was the demand for horses, on the line of march 
of the Austrians, that all those belonging to private individuals 
were put in requisition for their use, and Lord Byron himself 
received an order to send his for the same purpose. This, 
however, he positively refused to do, adding, that if an attempt 
were made to take them by force, he would shoot them through 
the head in the middle of the road, rather than submit to such 
an act of tyranny upon a foreigner who was merely a tempo- 
rary resident in the country. Whether his answer was ever 
reported to the higher authorities I know not ; but his horses 
were suffered to remain unmolested in his stables. 

62 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

expected in a few days. And this interruption, 
together with that occasioned by the continued 
march of the Austrians for the next few days, will 
not allow me to fix any precise period for availing 
myself of your kindness, though I should wish to 
take the earliest opportunity. Perhaps, if absent, 
you will have the goodness to permit one of your 
servants to show me the grounds and house, or as 
much of either as may be convenient ; at any rate, I 
shall take the first occasion possible to go over, and 
regret very much that I was yesterday prevented. 
" I have the honour to be your obliged, " &c. 


September 15. 1817. 

" I enclose a sheet for correction, if ever you get 
to another edition. You will observe that the 
blunder in printing makes it appear as if the 
Chateau was over St. Gingo, instead of being on the 
opposite shore of the Lake, over Clarens. So, 
separate the paragraphs, otherwise my topography 
will seem as inaccurate as your typography on this 

" The other day I wrote to convey my proposition 
with regard to the fourth and concluding Canto. I 
have gone over and extended it to one hundred and 
fifty stanzas, which is almost as long as the two first 
were originally, and longer by itself than any of the 
smaller poems except ' The Corsair.' Mr. Hobhouse 
has made some very valuable and accurate notes of 
considerable length, and you may be sure that I will 


do for the text all that I can to finish with decency. 
I look upon Childe Harold as my best ; -and as I 
begun, I think of concluding with it. But I make 
no resolutions on that head, as I broke my former 
intention with regard to ' The Corsair.' However, 
I fear that I shall never do better; and yet, not 
being thirty years of age, for some moons to come, 
one ought to be progressive as far as intellect goes for 
many a good year. But I have had a devilish deal 
of tear and wear of mind and body in my time, 
besides having published too often and much already. 
God grant me some judgment to do what may be 
most fitting in that and every thing else, for I doubt 
my own exceedingly. 

" I have read ' Lalla Rookh,' but not with 
sufficient attention yet, for I ride about, and lounge, 
and ponder, and two or three other things ; so 
that my reading is very desultory, and not so 
attentive as it used to be. I am very glad to hear of 
its popularity, for Moore is a very noble fellow in all 
respects, and will enjoy it without any of the bad 
feelings which success good or evil sometimes 
engenders in the men of rhyme. Of the poem, 
itself, I will tell you my opinion when I have mas- 
tered it : I say of the poem, for I don't like the 
prose at all ; and in the mean time, the * Fire-wor- 
shippers ' is the best, and the * Veiled Prophet ' the 
worst, of the volume. 

" With regard to poetry in general*, I am con- 

* On this paragraph, in the MS. copy of the above letter, I 
find the following note, in the handwriting of Mr. Gifford : - 

64- NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

vinced, the more I think of it, that he and all of us 
Scott, Southey, Wordsworth, Moore, Campbell, 
I, are all in the wrong, one as much as another; 
that we are upon a wrong revolutionary poetical 
system, or systems, not worth a damn in itself, and 
from which none but Uogers and Crabbe are free ; 
and that the present and next generations will 
finally be of this opinion. I am the more confirmed 
in this by having lately gone over some of our 
classics, particularly Pope, whom I tried in this way, 
I took Moore's poems and my own and some 
others, and went over them side by side with Pope's, 
and I was really astonished (I ought not to have 
been so) and mortified at the ineffable distance in 
point of sense, learning, effect, and even imagination, 
passion, and invention, between the little Queen 
Anne's man, and us of the Lower Empire. Depend 
upon it, it is all Horace then, and Claudian now, 
among us; and if I had to begin again, I would 
mould myself accordingly. Crabbe's the man, but 
he has got a coarse and impracticable subject, and 
* * * is retired upon half-pay, and has done enough, 
unless he were to do as he did formerly." 


" September 17. 1817. 

" Mr. Hobhouse purposes being in England in 
November; he will bring the fourth Canto with 

" There is more good sense, and feeling, and judgment in this 
passage, than in any other I ever read, or Lord Byron wrote. " 


him, notes and all ; the text contains one hundred 
and fifty stanzas, which is long for that measure. 

" With regard to the < Ariosto of the North/ 
surely their themes, chivalry, war, and love, were 
as like as can be ; and as to the compliment, if you 
knew what the Italians think of Ariosto, you would 
not hesitate about that. But as to their measures/ 
you forget that Ariosto's is an octave stanza, and 
Scott's any thing but a stanza. If you think Scott 
will dislike it, say so, and I will expunge. I do not 
call him the ' Scotch Ariosto,' which would be sad 
provincial eulogy, but the ' Ariosto of the North] 
meaning of all countries that are not the South. * * 

" As I have recently troubled you rather fre- 
quently, I will conclude, repeating that I am 

" Yours ever," &c. 


" October 12. 1817. 

" Mr. Kinnaird and his brother, Lord Kinnaird, 
have been here, and are now gone again. All your 
missives came, except the tooth-powder, of which I 
request further supplies, at all convenient oppor- 
tunities ; as also of magnesia and soda-powders, both 
great luxuries here, and neither to be had good, or 
indeed hardly at all, of the natives. * * * 

" In * *'s Life, I perceive an attack upon the then 
Committee of D. L. Theatre for acting Bertram, and 
an attack upon Maturin's Bertram for being acted. 
Considering all things, this is not very grateful nor 
graceful on the part of the worthy autobiographer; 


66 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

and I would answer, if I had not obliged him. Put- 
ting my own pains to forward the views of * * out of 
the question, I know that there was every disposition, 
on the part of the Sub-Committee, to bring forward 
any production of his, were it feasible. The play 
he offered, though poetical, did not appear at all 
practicable, and Bertram did; and hence this 
long tirade, which is the last chapter of his vaga- 
bond life. 

" As for Bertram, Maturin may defend his own 
begotten, if he likes it well enough; I leave the 
Irish clergyman and the new Orator Henley to 
battle it out between them, satisfied to have done 
the best I could for both. I may say this to you> 
who know it. 

" Mr. * * may console himself with the fervour, 
the almost religious fervour of his and W * *'s dis- 
ciples, as he calls it. If he means that as any proof 
of their merits, I will find him as much * fervour' in 
behalf of Richard Brothers and Joanna Southcote 
as ever gathered over his pages or round his fire- 

" My answer to your proposition about the fourth 
Canto you will have received, and I await yours ; 
perhaps we may not agree. I have since written a 
poem (of 84 octave stanzas), humorous, in or after 
the excellent manner of Mr. Whistlecraft (whom I 
take to be Frere), on a Venetian anecdote which 
amused me: but till I have your answer, I can 
say nothing more about it. 

" Mr. Hobhouse does not return to England in 
November, as he intended, but will winter here 


and as he is to convey the poem, or poems, for 
there may perhaps be more than the two mentioned, 
(which, by the way, I shall not perhaps include in 
the same publication or agreement,) I shall not be 
able to publish so soon as expected ; but I suppose 
there is no harm in the delay. 

" I have signed and sent your former copyrights by 
Mr. Kinnaird, but not the receipt, because the money 
is not yet paid. Mr. Kinnaird has a power of attor 
ney to sign for me, and will, when necessary. 

" Many thanks for the Edinburgh Review, which 
is very kind about Manfred, and defends its origi- 
nality, which I did not know that any body had 
attacked. I never read, and do not know that I 
ever saw, the * Faustus of Marlow,' and had, and 
have, no dramatic works by me in English, except 
the recent things you sent me; but I heard Mr. 
Lewis translate verbally some scenes of Goethe's 
Faust (which were, some good, and some bad) last 
summer ; which is all I know of the history of that 
magical personage ; and as to the germs of Manfred, 
they may be found in the Journal which I sent to 
Mrs. Leigh (part of which you saw) when I went 
over first the Dent de Jaman, and then the Wengen 
or Wengeberg Alp and Sheideck, and made the 
giro of the Jungfrau, Shreckhorn, &c. &c. shortly 
before I left Switzerland. I have the whole scene 
of Manfred before me as if it was but yesterday, 
and could point it out, spot by spot, torrent and all. 

" Of the Prometheus of ^schylus I was passion- 
ately fond as a boy (it was one of the Greek plays 
F 2 

68 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

we read thrice a year at Harrow); indeed that 
and the ' Medea' were the only ones, except the 
' Seven before Thebes,' which ever much pleased 
me. As to the ' Faustus of Marlow,' I never read, 
never saw, nor heard of it at least, thought of it, 
except that I think Mr. Gifford mentioned, in a note 
of his which you sent me, something about the 
catastrophe ; but not as having any thing to do with 
mine, which may or may not resemble it, for any 
thing I know. 

" The Prometheus, if not exactly in my plan, has 
always been so much in my head, that I can easily 
conceive its influence over all or any thing that I 
have written ; but I deny Marlow and his progeny, 
arid beg that you will do the same. 

" If you can send me the paper in question *, 
which the Edinburgh Review mentions, do* The 
review in the magazine you say was written by 
Wilson ? it had all the air of being a poet's, and was 
a very good one. The Edinburgh Review I take to 
be Jeffrey's own by its friendliness. I wonder they 
thought it worth while to do so, so soon after the 
former ; but it was evidently with a good motive. 

" I saw Hoppner the other day, whose country- 
house at Este I have taken for two years. If you 

* A paper in the Edinburgh Magazine, in which it was 
suggested that the general conception of Manfred, and much 
of what is excellent in the manner of its execution, had been 
borrowed from " The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus," of 


come out next summer, let me know in time. Love 
to Gifford. " Yours ever truly. 

" Crabbe, Malcolm, Hamilton, and Chantrey, 
Are all partakers of my pantry. 

These two lines are omitted in your letter to the 
doctor, after 

" All clever men who make their way." 


" Venice, October 23. 1817. 

" Your two letters are before me, and our bargain 
is so far concluded. How sorry I am to hear that 
Gifford is unwell ! Pray tell me he is better : I hope 
it is nothing but cold. As you say his illness origi- 
nates in cold, I trust it will get no further. 

" Mr. Whistlecraft has no greater admirer than 
myself: I have written a story in 89 stanzas, in 
imitation of him, called Beppo, (the short name for 
Giuseppe, that is, the Joe of the Italian Joseph,) 
which I shall throw you into the balance of the fourth 
Canto, to help you round to your money ; but you 
perhaps had better publish it anonymously ; but this 
we will see to by and by. 

" In the Notes to Canto fourth, Mr. Hobhouse 
has pointed out several errors of Gibbon. You may 
depend upon H.'s research and accuracy. You may 
print it in what shape you please. 

" With regard to a future large edition, you may 
print all, or any thing, except * English Bards,' to 
the republication of which at no time will I consent. 
F 3 

70 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

I would not reprint them on any consideration. I 
don't think them good for much, even in point of 
poetry ; and, as to other things, you are to recollect 
that I gave up the publication on account of the Hol- 
lands, and I do not think that any time or circum- 
stances can neutralise the suppression. Add to 
which, that, after being on terms with almost all the 
bards and critics of the day, it would be savage at 
any time, but worst of all now, to revive this foolish 

" The review of Manfred came very safely, and I 
am much pleased with it. It is odd that they should 
say (that is somebody in a magazine whom the Edin- 
burgh controverts) that it was taken from Marlow's 
Faust, which I never read nor saw. An American, 
who came the other day from Germany, told Mr. 
Hobhouse that Manfred was taken from Goethe's 
Faust. The devil may take both the Faustuses, 
German and English I have taken neither. 

" Will you send to Hanson, and say that he has 
not written since 9th September? at least I have 
had no letter since, to my great surprise. 

" Will you desire Messrs. Morland to send out 
whatever additional sums have or may be paid in 
credit immediately, and always to their Venice cor- 
respondents ? It is two months ago that they sent 
me out an additional credit for one thousand pounds. 
I was very glad of it, but I don't know how the devil 
it came ; for I can only make out 500 of Hanson's 
payment, and I had thought the other 500 came 
from you ; but it did not, it seems, as, by yours of 


the 7th instant, you have only just paid the 1230/. 

" Mr. Kinnaird is on his way home with the 
assignments. I can fix no time for the arrival of 
Canto fourth, which depends on the journey of Mr. 
Hobhouse home ; and I do not think that this will 
be immediate. 

" Yours in great haste and very truly, 


" P. S. Morlands have not yet written to my 
bankers apprising the payment of your balances : 
pray desire them to do so. 

" Ask them about the previous thousand of 
which I know 500 came from Hanson's and make 
out the other 500 that is, whence it came." 


" Venice, November 15. J817. 

" Mr. Kinnaird has probably returned to England 
by this time, and will have conveyed to you any 
tidings you may wish to have of us and ours. I have 
come back to Venice for the winter. Mr. Hobhouse 
will probably set off in December, but what day or 
week I know not. He is my opposite neighbour at 

" I wrote yesterday in some perplexity, and no 
very good humour, to Mr. Kinnaird, to inform me 
about Newstead and the Hansons, of which and 
whom I hear nothing since his departure from this 
place, except in a few unintelligible words from an 
unintelligible woman. 

F 4- 

72 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

" I am as sorry to hear of Dr. Polidori's accident 
as one can be for a person for whom one has a dislike, 
and something of contempt. When he gets well, 
tell me, and how he gets on in the sick line. Poor 
fellow ! how came he to fix there ? 

" I fear the Doctor's skill at Norwich 
Will hardly salt the Doctor's porridge. 

Methought he was going to the Brazils to give the 
Portuguese physic (of which they are fond to des- 
peration) with the Danish consul. 

" Your new Canto has expanded to one hundred 
and sixty-seven stanzas. It will be long, you see ; 
and as for the notes by Hobhouse, I suspect they 
will be of the heroic size. You must keep Mr. * * 
in good humour, for he is devilish touchy yet about 
your Review and all which it inherits, including the 
editor, the Admiralty, and its bookseller. I used to 
think that / was a good deal of an author in amour 
propre and noli me tangere ; but these prose fellows 
are worst, after all, about their little comforts. 

" Do you remember my mentioning, some months 
ago, the Marquis Moncada a Spaniard of distinc- 
tion and fourscore years, my summer neighbour at 
La Mira ? Well, about six weeks ago, he fell in 
love with a Venetian girl of family, and no fortune or 
character; took her into his mansion; quarrelled with 
all his former friends for giving him advice (except 
me who gave him none), and installed her present 
concubine and future wife and mistress of himself 
and furniture. At the end of a month, in which she 
demeaned herself as ill as possible, he found out a 


correspondence between her and some former keeper, 
and after nearly strangling, turned her out of the 
house, to the great scandal of the keeping part of the 
town, and with a prodigious eclat, which has occu- 
pied all the canals and coffee-houses in Venice. He 
said she wanted to poison him ; and she says God 
knows what ; but between them they have made a 
great deal of noise. I know a little of both the par- 
ties : Moncada seemed a very sensible old man, a 
character which he has not quite kept up on this 
occasion ; and the woman is rather showy than pretty. 
For the honour of religion, she was bred in a con- 
vent, and for the credit of Great Britain, taught by 
an Englishwoman. " Yours," &c. 


" Venice, December 3. 1817. 

" A Venetian lady, learned and somewhat stricken 
in years, having, in her intervals of love and devo- 
tion, taken upon her to translate the Letters and 
write the Life of Lady Mary Wortley Montague, 
to which undertaking there are two obstacles, firstly, 
ignorance of English, and, secondly, a total dearth of 
information on the subject of her projected biogra- 
phy, has applied to me for facts or falsities upon 
this promising project. Lady Montague lived the 
last twenty or more years of her life in or near 
Venice, I believe ; but here they know nothing, and 
remember nothing, for the story of to-day is suc- 
ceeded by the scandal of to-morrow ; and the wit, 
and beauty, and gallantry, which might render your 

74f NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

countrywoman notorious in her own country, must 
have been here no great distinction because the 
first is in no request, and the two latter are common 
to all women, or at least the last of them. If you can 
therefore tell me any thing, or get any thing told, of 
Lady Wortley Montague, I shall take it as a favour, 
and will transfer and translate it to the * Dama' in 
question. And I pray you besides to send me, by 
some quick and safe voyager, the edition of her 
Letters, and the stupid Life, by Dr. Dallaway, pub- 
lished by her proud and foolish family. 

" The death of the Princess Charlotte has been a 
shock even here, and must have been an earthquake 
at home. The Courier's list of some three hundred 
heirs to the crown (including the house of Wirtem- 

berg, with that * * *, P , of disreputable memory, 

whom I remember seeing at various balls during the 
visit of the Muscovites, &c. in 1814) must be very 
consolatory to all true lieges, as well as foreigners, 
except Signor Travis, a rich Jew merchant of this 
city, who complains grievously of the length of British 
mourning, which has countermanded all the silks 
which he was on the point of transmitting, for a 
year to come. The death of this poor girl is melan- 
choly in every respect, dyirig at twenty or so, in 
childbed of a boy too, a present princess and future 
queen, and just as she began to be happy, and to 
enjoy herself, and the hopes which she inspired. 

" I think, as far as I can recollect, she is the first 
royal defunct in childbed upon record in our history. 
I feel sorry in every respect for the loss of a female 
reign, and a woman hitherto harmless ; and all the 


lost rejoicings, and addresses, and drunkenness, and 
disbursements, of John Bull on the occasion. 

" The Prince will marry again, after divorcing his 
wife, and Mr. Southey will write an elegy now, and 
an ode then ; the Quarterly will have an article 
against the press, and the Edinburgh an article, half 
and half, about reform and right of divorce ; the 
British will give you Dr. Chalmers's funeral sermon 
much commended, with a place in the stars for 
deceased royalty ; and the Morning Post will have 
already yelled forth its * syllables of dolour.' 

" Woe, woe, Nealliny ! the young Nealliny ! 

" It is some time since I have heard from you : are 
you in bad humour ? I suppose so. I have been so 
myself, and it is your turn now, and by and by mine 
will come round again. Yours truly, 


" P. S. Countess Albrizzi, come back from Paris, 
has brought me a medal of himself, a present from 
Denon to me, and a likeness of Mr. Rogers (belonging 
to her), by Denon also.'' 


Venice, December 15. 1817. 

" I should have thanked you before, for your 
favour a few days ago, had I not been in the inten- 
tion of paying my respects, personally, this evening, 
from which I am deterred by the recollection that 
you will probably be at the Count Goess's this even- 
ing, which has made me postpone my intrusion. 

76 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

" I think your Elegy a remarkably good one, 
not only as a composition, but both the politics and 
poetry contain a far greater portion of truth and 
generosity than belongs to the times, or to the pro- 
fessors of these opposite pursuits, which usually 
agree only in one point, as extremes meet. I do 
not know whether you wished me to retain the copy, 
but I shall retain it till you tell me otherwise ; and 
am very much obliged by the perusal. 

" My own sentiments on Venice, &c., such as they 
are, I had already thrown into verse last summer, 
in the fourth Canto of Childe Harold, now in pre- 
paration for the press ; and I think much more highly 
of them, for being in coincidence with yours. 

" Believe me yours," &c. 


" Venice, January 8. 1818. 

" My dear Mr. Murray, 
You're in a damn'd hurry 

To set up this ultimate Canto ; 
But (if they don't rob us) 
You'll see Mr. Hobhouse 

Will bring it safe in his portmanteau. 

*' For the Journal you hint of, 
As ready to print off, 

No doubt you do right to commend it ; 
But as yet I have writ off 
The devil a bit of 

Our ' Beppo ;' when copied, I'll send it. 


" Then you 've * * * Tour, 
No great things, so be sure, 

You could hardly begin with a less work ; 
For the pompous rascal lion, 
Who don't speak Italian 

Nor French, must have scribbled by guess-work. 

" You can make any loss up 
With * Spence ' and his gossip, 

A work which must surely succeed; 
Then Queen Mary's Epistle-craft, 
With the new Fytte ' of Whistlecraft,' 

Must make people purchase and read. 

" Then you 've General Gordon, 
Who girded his sword on, 

To serve with a Muscovite master, 
And help him to polish 
A nation so owlish, 

They thought shaving their beards a disaster. 

" For the man, ' poor and shrewd *, ' 
With whom you'd conclude 

A compact without more delay, 
Perhaps some such pen is 
Still extant in Venice ; 

But please, sir, to mention your pay." 


" Venice, January 19. 1818. 

" I send you the Story f in three other separate 
covers. It won't do for your Journal, being full of 
political allusions. Print alone, without name; alter 

* " Vide your letter." f Beppo. 

78 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

nothing ; get a scholar to see that the Italian phrases 
are correctly published, (your printing, by the way, 
always makes me ill with its eternal blunders, which 
are incessant,) and God speed you. Hobhouse left 
Venice a fortnight ago, saving two days. I have heard 
nothing of or from him. 

" Yours, &c. 

" He has the whole of the MSS. ; so put up prayers 
in your back shop, or in the printer's ' Chapel.' " 


" Venice, January 27. 1818. 

" My father that is, my Armenian father, Padre 
Pasquali in the name of all the other fathers of 
our Convent, sends you the enclosed, greeting. 

" Inasmuch as it has pleased the translators of 
the long-lost and lately-found portions of the text 
of Eusebius to put forth the enclosed prospectus, of 
which I send six copies, you are hereby implored 
to obtain subscribers in the two Universities, and 
among the learned, and the unlearned who would 
unlearn their ignorance. This they (the Convent) 
request, / request, and do you request. 

" I sent you Beppo some weeks agone. You 
must publish it alone ; it has politics and ferocity, 
and won't do for your isthmus of a Journal. 

" Mr. Hobhouse, if the Alps have not broken his 
neck, is, or ought to be, swimming with my com- 
mentaries and his own coat of mail in his teeth 
and right hand, in a cork jacket, between Calais 
and Dover. 




" It is the height of the Carnival, and I am in the 
extreme and agonies of a new intrigue with I don't 
exactly know whom or what, except that she is in- 
satiate of love, and won't take money, and has light 
hair and blue eyes, which are not common here, 
and that I met her at the Masque, and that when 
her mask is off, I am as wise as ever. I shall make 
what I can of the remainder of my youth." 


" Venice, February 2. 1818. 

" Your letter of December 8th arrived but this 
day, by some delay, common but inexplicable. Your 
domestic calamity is very grievous, and I feel with 

you as much as I dare feel at all.v Throughout life, 

^oiir Jj3SS_nLUlLb^^ gain ; 

and, though my heart may ebb, there will always 
a drop for you among the dregs. 

" I know how to feel with you, because (selfishness 
being always the substratum of our damnable clay) 
I am quite wrapt up in my own children. Besides 
my little legitimate, I have made unto myself an 
z71egitimate since (to say nothing of one before *), 
and I look forward to one of these as the pillar of 
my old age, supposing that I ever reach which I 
hope I never shall that desolating period. I have 
a great love for my little Ada, though perhaps she 
may torture me, like * * *. 

* This possibly may have been the subject of the Poem 
given in p. 152. of the first volume. 

80 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

" Your offered address will be as acceptable as you 
can wish. I don't much care what the wretches of 
the world think of me all that's past. But I care a 
good deal what you think of me, and, so, say what 
you like. You know that I am not sullen ; and, as to 
being savage, such things depend on circumstances. 
However, as to being in good humour in your society, 
there is no great merit in that, because it would be 
an effort, or an insanity, to be otherwise. 

" I don't know what Murray may have been saying 
or quoting. * I called Crabbe and Sam the fathers 
of present Poesy ; and said, that I thought except 
them all of * us youth ' were on a wrong tack. 
But I never said that we did not sail well. Our 
fame will be hurt by admiration and imitation. When 
I say our, I mean all (Lakers included), except the 
postscript of the Augustans. The next generation 
(from the quantity and facility of imitation) will 
tumble and break their necks off our Pegasus, who 

* Having seen by accident the passage in one of his letters 
to Mr. Murray, in which he denounces, as false and worthless, 
the poetical system on which the greater number of his cotem- 
poraries, as well as himself, founded their reputation, I took 
an opportunity, in the next letter I wrote to him, of jesting a 
little on this opinion, and his motives for it. It was, no doubt 
(I ventured to say), excellent policy in him, who had made 
sure of his own immortality in this style of writing, thus to 
throw overboard all us poor devils, who were embarked with 
him. He was, in fact, I added, behaving towards us much in 
the manner of the methodist preacher who said to his con- 
gregation " You may think, at the Last Day, to get to 
heaven by laying hold on my skirts ; but I'll cheat you all, for 
I'll wear a spencer, I'll wear a spencer ! " 


runs away with us ; but we keep the saddle, because 
we broke the rascal and can ride. But though easy 
to mount, he is the devil to guide ; and the next 
fellows must go back to the riding-school and the 
manege, and learn to ride the ' great horse.' 

" Talking of horses, by the way, I have trans- 
ported my own, four in number, to the Lido (beach in 
English), a strip of some ten miles along the Adriatic, 
a mile or two from the city ; so that I not only get a 
row in my gondola, but a spanking gallop of some 
miles daily along a firm and solitary beach, from 
the fortress to Malamocco, the which contributes 
considerably to my health and spirits. 

" I have hardly had a wink of sleep this week 
past. We are in the agonies of the Carnival's last 
days, and I must be up all night again, as well as to- 
morrow. I have had some curious masking adven- 
tures this Carnival ; but, as they are not yet over, 
I shall not say on. I will work the mine of my youth 
to the last veins of the ore, and then good night. 
I have lived, and am content. 

" Hobhouse went away before the Carnival began, 
so that he had little or no fun. Besides, it requires 
some time to be thoroughgoing with the Venetians ; 
but of all this anon, in some other letter. 

" I must dress for the evening. There is an opera 
and ridotto, and I know not what, besides balls ; and 
so, ever and ever yours, " B. 

" P. S. I send this without revision, so excuse 
errors. I delight in the fame and fortune of Lalla, 
and again congratulate you on your well-merited 


82 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

Of his daily rides on the Lido, which he mentions 
in this letter, the following account, by a gentleman 
who lived a good deal with him at Venice, will be 
found not a little interesting : 

" Almost immediately after Mr. Hobhouse's de- 
parture, Lord Byron proposed to me to accompany 
him in his rides on the Lido. One of the long 
narrow islands which separate the Lagune, in the 
midst of which Venice stands, from the Adriatic, is 
more particularly distinguished by this name. At 
one extremity is a fortification, which, with the 
Castle of St. Andrea on an island on the opposite 
side, defends the nearest entrance to the city from 
the sea. In times of peace this fortification is almost 
dismantled, and Lord Byron had hired here of the 
Commandant an unoccupied stable, where he kept 
his horses. The distance from the city was not 
very considerable ; it was much less than to the 
Terra Firma, and, as far as it went, the spot was not 
ineligible for riding. 

" Every day that the weather would permit, Lord 
Byron called for me in his gondola, and we found 
the horses waiting for us outside of the fort. We 
rode as far as we could along the sea-shore, and then 
on a kind of dyke, or embankment, which has been 
raised where the island was very narrow, as far as 
another small fort about half way between the prin- 
cipal one which I have already mentioned, and the 
town or village of Malamocco, which is near the 
other extremity of the island, the distance between 
the two forts being about three miles. 

" On the land side of the embankment, not fai 


from the smaller fort, was a boundary stone which 
probably marked some division of property, all 
the side of the island nearest the Lagune being 
divided into gardens for the cultivation of vegetables 
for the Venetian markets. At the foot of this stone 
Lord Byron repeatedly told me that I should cause 
him to be interred, if he should die in Venice, or 
its neighbourhood, during my residence there ; and 
he appeared to think, as he was not a Catholic, that, 
on the part of the government, there could be no 
obstacle to his interment in an unhallowed spot of 
ground by the sea-side. At all events, I was to 
overcome whatever difficulties might be raised on 
this account. I was, by no means, he repeatedly 
told me, to allow his body to be removed to England, 
nor permit any of his family to interfere with his 

" Nothing could be more delightful than these 
rides on the Lido were to me. We were from half 
to three quarters of an hour crossing the water, 
during which his conversation was always most 
amusing and interesting. Sometimes he would bring 
with him any new book he had received, and read 
to me the passages which most struck him. Often 
he would repeat to me whole stanzas of the poems 
he was engaged in writing, as he had composed 
them on the preceding evening ; and this was the 
more interesting to me, because I could frequently 
trace in them some idea which he had started in our 
conversation of the preceding day, or some remark, 
the effect of which he had been evidently trying 
upon nie. Occasionally, too, he spoke of his own 
G 2 

84? NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

affairs, making me repeat all I had heard with regard 
to him, and desiring that I would not spare him, 
but let him know the worst that was said." 


" Venice, Feb. 20. 1818. 

" I have to thank Mr. Croker for the arrival, and 
you for the contents, of the parcel which came last 
week, much quicker than any before, owing to Mr. 
Croker's kind attention and the official exterior of 
the bags ; and all safe, except much friction amongst 
the magnesia, of which only two bottles came entire ; 
but it is all very well, and I am exceedingly obliged 
to you. 

" The books I have read, or rather am reading. 
Pray, who may be the Sexagenarian, whose gossip 
is very amusing ? Many of his sketches I recognise, 
particularly Gifford, Mackintosh, Drummond, Du- 
tens, H. Walpole, Mrs. Inchbald, Opie, &c., with the 
Scotts, Loughborough, and most of the divines and 
lawyers, besides a few shorter hints of authors, and 
a few lines about a certain < noble author,' charac- 
terised as malignant and sceptical, according to the 
good old story, * as it was in the beginning, is now, 
but not always shall be : ' do you know such a per- 
son, Master Murray ? eh ? And pray, of the 
booksellers, which be you ? the dry, the dirty, the 
honest, the opulent, the finical, the splendid, or the 
coxcomb bookseller ? Stap my vitals, but the author 
grows scurrilous in his grand climacteric ! 

" I remember to have seen Person at Cambridge^ 


in the hall of our college, and in private parties, but 
not frequently ; and I never can recollect him ex- 
cept as drunk or brutal, and generally both : I mean 
in an evening, for in the hall he dined at the Dean's 
table, and I at the Vice-master's, so that I was not 
near him ; and he then and there appeared sober in 
his demeanour, nor did I ever hear of excess or out- 
rage on his part in public, commons, college, or 
chapel ; but I have seen him in a private party of un- 
dergraduates, many of them fresh men and strangers, 
take up a poker to one of them, and heard him use 
language as blackguard as his action. I have seen 
Sheridan drunk, too, with all the world ; but his 
intoxication was that of Bacchus, and Person's that 
of Silenus. Of all the disgusting brutes, sulky, 
abusive, and intolerable, Porson was the most 
bestial, as far as the few times that I saw him went, 
which were only at William Bankes's (the Nubian 
discoverer's) rooms. I saw him once go away in a 
rage, because nobody knew the name of the ' Cobbler 
of Messina,' insulting their ignorance with the most 
vulgar terms of reprobation. He was tolerated in 
this state amongst the young men for his talents, 
as the Turks think a madman inspired, and bear 
with him. He used to recite, or rather vomit, pages 
of all languages, and could hiccup Greek like a 
Helot; and certainly Sparta never shocked her 
children with a grosser exhibition than this man's 

" I perceive, in the book you sent me, a long ac- 
count of him, which is very savage. I cannot judge, 
as I never saw him sober, except in hall or combin- 
G 3 

86 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

ation-room ; and then I was never near enough to 
hear, and hardly to see him. Of his drunken de- 
portment, I can be sure, because I saw it. 

" With the Reviews I have been much entertained. 
It requires to be as far from England as I am to relish 
a periodical paper properly : it is like soda-water in 
an Italian summer. But what cruel work you make 
with Lady * * * * ! You should recollect that she 
is a woman ; though, to be sure, they are now and 
then very provoking ; still, as authoresses, they can 
do no great harm ; and I think it a pity so much good 
invective should have been laid out upon her, when 
there is such a fine field of us Jacobin gentlemen for 
you to work upon. 

" I heard from Moore lately, and was sorry to be 
made aware of his domestic loss. Thus it is 
* medio de fonte leporum ' in the acme of his 
fame and his happiness comes a drawback as usual. 

" Mr. Hoppner, whom I saw this morning, has 
been made the father of a very fine boy.* Mother 

* On the birth of this child, who was christened John Wil- 
liam Rizzo, Lord Byron wrote the four following lines, which 
are in no other respect remarkable than that they were thought 
worthy of being metrically translated into no less than ten 
different languages ; namely, Greek, Latin, Italian (also in the 
Venetian dialect), German, French, Spanish, Illyrian, Hebrew, 
Armenian, and Samaritan : 

" His father's sense, his mother's grace 

In him, I hope, will always fit so ; 

With (still to keep him in good case) 

The health and appetite of Rizzo." 


and child doing very well indeed. By this time 
Hobhouse should be with you, and also certain 
packets, letters, &c. of mine, sent since his departure. 
I am not at all well in health within this last 
eight days. My remembrances to Gifford and all 
friends. Yours, &c. 


" P. S. In the course of a month or two, Hanson 
will have probably to send off a clerk with convey- 
ances to sign (Newstead being sold in November 
last for ninety-four thousand five hundred pounds), 
in which case I supplicate supplies of articles as 
usual, for which, desire Mr. Kinnaird to settle from 
funds in their bank, and deduct from my account 
with him. 

" P. S. To-morrow night I am going to see 
' Otello,' an opera from our ' Othello,' and one or 
Rossini's best, it is said. It will be curious to see 
in Venice the Venetian story itself represented, be- 
sides to discover what they will make of Shakspeare 
in music." 


" Venice, February 28. 1818. 

" My dear Sir, 

" Our friend, il Conte M., threw me into a cold 
sweat last night, by telling me of a menaced version 
of Manfred (in Venetian, I hope, to complete the 
thing) by some Italian, who had sent it to you for 

The original lines, with the different versions just men- 
tioned, were printed, in a small neat volume (which now lies 
before me), in the seminary of Padua. 
G 4- 

88 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

correction, which is the reason why I take the liberty 
of troubling you on the subject. If you have any 
means of communication with the man, would you 
permit me to convey to him the offer of any price he 
may obtain or think to obtain for his project, pro- 
vided he will throw his translation into the fire*, and 
promise not to undertake any other of that or any 
other of my things : I will send his money imme- 
diately on this condition. 

" As I did not write to the Italians, nor for the 
Italians, nor of the Italians, (except in a poem not 
yet published, where I have said all the good I know 
or do not know of them, and none of the harm,) I 
confess I wish that they would let me alone, and not 

* Having ascertained that the utmost this translator could 
expect to make by his manuscript was two hundred francs, 
Lord Byron offered him that sum, if he would desist from 
publishing. The Italian, however, held out for more; nor 
could he be brought to terms, till it was intimated to him pretty 
plainly from Lord Byron that, should the publication be per- 
sisted in, he would horsewhip him the very first time they 
met. Being but little inclined to suffer martyrdom in the 
cause, the translator accepted the two hundred francs, and 
delivered up his manuscript, entering at the same time into a 
written engagement never to translate any other of the noble 
poet's works. 

Of the qualifications of this person as a translator of English 
poetry, some idea may be formed from the difficulty he found 
himself under respecting the meaning of a line in the Incanta- 
tion in Manfred, " And the wisp on the morass," which 
he requested of Mr. Hoppner to expound to him, not having 
been able to find in the dictionaries to which he had access 
any other signification of the word " wisp " than " a bundle of 


drag me into their arena as one of the gladiators, in 
a silly contest which I neither understand nor have 
ever interfered with, having kept clear of all their 
literary parties, both here and at Milan, and else- 
where. I came into Italy to feel the climate and 
be quiet, if possible. Mossi's translation I would 
have prevented, if I had known it, or could have 
done so ; and I trust that I shall yet be in time to 
stop this new gentleman, of whom I heard yesterday 
for the first time. He will only hurt himself, and do 
no good to his party, for in party the whole thing 
originates. Our modes of thinking and writing are 
so unutterably different, that I can conceive no 
greater absurdity than attempting to make any ap- 
proach between the English and Italian poetry of the 
present day. I like the people very much, and their 
literature very much, but I am not the least ambi- 
tious of being the subject of their discussions literary 
and personal (which appear to be pretty much the 
same thing, as is the case in most countries) ; and if 
you can aid me in impeding this publication, you will 
add to much kindness already received from you by 
yours Ever and truly, 


" P. S. How is the son, and mamma? Well, I dare 


" Venice, March 3. 1828. 

" I have not, as you say, * taken to wife the 
Adriatic.' I heard of Moore's loss from himself in 
a letter which was delayed upon the road three 

90 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

months. I was sincerely sorry for it, but in such 
cases what are words ? 

" The villa you speak of is one at Este, which Mr. 
Hoppner (Consul-general here) has transferred to 
me. I have taken it for two years as a place of Vil- 
leggiatura. The situation is very beautiful, indeed, 
among the Euganean hills, and the house very fair. 
The vines are luxuriant to a great degree, and all 
the fruits of the earth abundant. It is close to the 
old castle of the Estes, or Guelphs, and within a few 
miles of Arqua, which I have visited twice, and hope 
to visit often. 

" Last summer (except an excursion to Rome) I 
passed upon the Brenta. In Venice I winter, trans- 
porting my horses to the Lido, bordering the Adriatic 
(where the fort is), so that I get a gallop of some 
miles daily along the strip of beach which reaches to 
Malamocco, when in health ; but within these few 
weeks I have been unwell. At present I am getting 
better. The Carnival was short, but a good one. I 
don't go out much, except during the time of 
masques; but there are one or two conversazioni, 
where I go regularly, just to keep up the system ; as 
I had letters to their givers ; and they are particu- 
lar on such points ; and now and then, though very 
rarely, to the Governor's. 

" It is a very good place for women. I like the 
dialect and their manner very much. There is a 
naivete, about them which is very winning, and the 
romance of the place is a mighty adjunct ; the bel 
sangue is not, however, now amongst the dame or 
higher orders ; but all under ifazzioli, or kerchiefs 


(a white kind of veil which the lower orders wear 
upon their heads) ; the vesta zendale, or old national 
female costume, is no more. The city, however, is 
decaying daily, and does not gain in population. 
However, I prefer it to any other in Italy ; and here 
have I pitched my staff, and here do I purpose to 
reside for the remainder of my life, unless events, 
connected with business not to be transacted out of 
England, compel me to return for that purpose ; 
otherwise I have few regrets, and no desires to visit 
it again for its own sake. I shall probably be obliged 
to do so, to sign papers for my affairs, and a proxy 
for the Whigs, and to see Mr. Waite, for I can't find 
a good dentist here, and every two or three years 
one ought to consult one. About seeing my children 
I must take my chance. One I shall have sent here ; 
and I shall be very happy to see the legitimate one, 
when God pleases, which he perhaps will some day 
or other. As for my mathematical * * *, I am as 
well without her. 

" Your account of your visit to Fonthill is very 
striking : could you beg of him for me a copy in MS. 
of the remaining Tales?* I think I deserve them, 
as a strenuous and public admirer of the first one. 
I will return it when read, and make no ill use of the 
copy, if granted. Murray would send me out any 
thing safely. If ever I return to England, I should 

* A continuation of Vathek, by the author of that very 
striking and powerful production. The " Tales " of which 
this unpublished sequel consists are, I understand, those 
supposed to have been related by the Princes in the Hall of 

92 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

like very much to see the author, with his permission. 
In the mean time, you could not oblige me more 
than by obtaining me the perusal I request, in 
French or English, all's one for that, though I 
prefer Italian to either. I have a French copy of 
Vathek which I bought at Lausanne. I can read 
French with great pleasure and facility, though I 
neither speak nor write it. Now Italian I can speak 
with some fluency, and write sufficiently for my pur- 
poses, but I don't like their modern prose at all ; 
it is very heavy, and so different from Machiavelli. 

" They say Francis is Junius ; I think it looks 
like it. I remember meeting him at Earl Grey's at 
dinner. Has not he lately married a young woman ; 
and was not he Madame Talleyrand's cavaliere ser- 
vente in India years ago ? 

" I read my death in the papers, which was not 
true. I see they are marrying the remaining single- 
ness of the royal family. They have brought out 
Fazio with great and deserved success at Covent 
Garden : that's a good sign. I tried, during the di- 
rectory, to have it done at Drury Lane, but was over- 
ruled. If you think of coming into this country, you 
will let me know perhaps beforehand. I suppose 
Moore won't move. Rose is here. I saw him the 
other night at Madame Albrizzi's ; he talks of re- 
turning in May. My love to the Hollands. 

Ever, &c. 

" P S. They have been crucifying Othello into an 
opera ( Otello, by Rossini) : the music good, but 
lugubrious ; but as for the words, all the real scenes 
with lago cut out, and the greatest nonsense instead ; 


the handkerchief turned into a billet-doux, and the 
first singer would not black his face, for some exqui- 
site reasons assigned in the preface. Singing, dresses, 
and music, very good." 


" Venice, March 16. 1818. 
" My dear Tom, 

" Since my last, which I hope that you have re- 
ceived, I have had a letter from our friend Samuel. 
He talks of Italy this summer won't you come 
with him ? I don't know whether you would like 
our Italian way of life or not. 

" They are an odd people. The other day I was 
telling a girl, ' You must not come to-morrow, be- 
cause Margueritta is coming at such a time,' (they 
are both about five feet ten inches high, with great 
black eyes and fine figures fit to breed gladiators 
from and I had some difficulty to prevent a battle 
upon a rencontre once before,) ' unless you pro- 
mise to be friends, and ' the answer was an inter- 
ruption, by a declaration of war against the other, 
which she said would be a * Guerra di Candia.' Is 
it not odd, that the lower order of Venetians should 
still allude proverbially to that famous contest, so 
glorious and so fatal to the Republic ? 

" They have singular expressions, like all the 
Italians. For example, ' Viscere ' as we would 
say, My love,' or My heart,' as an expression of 
tenderness. Also, * I would go for you into the 
midst of a hundred knives.' 'Mazza ben,' excessive 

94 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

attachment, literally, * I wish you well even to 
killing.' Then they say (instead of our way, Do 
you think I would do you so much harm?') 'Do you 
think I would assassinate you in such a manner?' 
* Tempo perfido,' bad weather ; ' Strade perfide,' bad 
roads, with a thousand other allusions and meta- 
phors, taken from the state of society and habits in 
the middle ages. 

" I am not so sure about mazza, whether it don't 
mean massa, i. e. a great deal, a mass, instead of the 
interpretation I have given it. But of the other 
phrases I am sure. 

" Three o' th' clock I must to bed, to bed, to 
bed,' as mother S * * (that tragical friend cf the 
mathematical * * *) says. 

" Have you ever seen I forget what or whom 
no matter. They tell me Lady Melbourne is 
very unwell. I shall be so sorry. She was my 
greatest friend, of the feminine gender : when I 
say ' friend,' I mean not mistress, for that's the anti- 
pode. Tell me all about you and every body how 
Sam is how you like your neighbours, the Marquis 
and Marchesa, &c. &c. 

" Ever," &c. 


" Venice, March 25. 1818. 

I have your letter, with the account of < Beppo,' 
for which I sent you four new stanzas a fortnight 
ago, in case you print, or reprint. 


" Croker's is a good guess ; but the style is not 
English, it is Italian ; Berni is the original of all. 
Whistlecraft was my immediate model! Rose's 
* Animali' 1 never saw till a few days ago, they 
are excellent. But (as I said above) Berni is the 
father of that kind of writing, which, I think, suits 
our language, too, very well ; we shall see by the 
experiment. If it does, I shall send you a volume 
in a year or two, for I know the Italian way of life 
well, and in time may know it yet better ; and as 
for the verse and the passions, I have them still in 
tolerable vigour. 

" If you think that it will do you ana the work, or 
works, any good, you may put my name to it ; but 
first consult the knowing ones. It will, at any rate, 
show them that I can write cheerfully, and repel the 
charge of monotony and mannerism. 

" Yours," &c. 


" Venice, April 11. 1818. 

" Will you send me by letter, packet, or parcel, 
half a dozen of the coloured prints from Holmes's 
miniature (the latter done shortly before I left 
your country, and the prints about a year ago) ; I 
shall be obliged to you, as some people here have 
asked me for the like. It is a picture of my upright 
self done for Scrope B. Davies, Esq. * 

* There follows, in this place, among other matter, a long 
string of verses, in various metres, to the amount of about 

96 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

" Why have you not sent me an answer, and list of 
subscribers to the translation of the Armenian Euse- 
bius ? of which I sent you printed copies of the pro- 
spectus (in French) two moons ago. Have you had 
the letter ? I shall send you another : you must 
not neglect my Armenians. Tooth-powder, mag- 
nesia, tincture of myrrh, tooth-brushes, diachylon 
plaster, Peruvian bark, are my personal demands. 

" Strahan, Tonson, Lintot of the times, 
Patron and publisher of rhymes, 
For thee the bard up Pindus climbs, 
My Murray. 

" To thee, with hope and terror dumb, 
The unfledged M S. authors come ; 
Thou printest all and sellest some 
My Murray. 

" Upon thy table's baize so green 
The last new Quarterly is seen, 
But where is thy new Magazine, 
My Murray ? 

" Along thy sprucest bookshelves shine 
The works thou deemest most divine 
The ' Art of Cookery,' and mine, 
My Murray. 

sixty lines, so full of light gaiety and humour, that it is with 
some reluctance I suppress them. They might, however, have 
the effect of giving pain in quarters where even the author 
himself would not have deliberately inflicted it ; from a pen 
like his, touches may be wounds, and without being actually 
intended as such. 


" Tours, Travels, Essays, too, I wist, 
And Sermons to thy mill bring grist ! 
And then thou hast the Navy List,* 
My Murray. 

" And Heaven forbid I should conclude 
Without * the Board of Longitude,' 
Although this narrow paper would, 
My Murray ! " 


"Venice, April 12. 1818. 

" This letter will be delivered by Signer Gioe. 
Bata. Missiaglia, proprietor of the Apollo library, 
and the principal publisher and bookseller now in 
Venice. He sets out for London with a view to 
business and correspondence with the English book- 
sellers : and it is in the hope that it may be for your 
mutual advantage that I furnish him with this letter 
of introduction to you. If you can be of use to him, 
either by recommendation to others, or by any per- 
sonal attention on your own part, you will oblige 
him and gratify me. You may also perhaps both be 
able to derive advantage, or establish some mode of 
literary communication, pleasing to the public, and 
beneficial to one another. 

" At any rate, be civil to him for my sake, as well 
as for the honour and glory of publishers and authors 
now and to come for evermore. 

" With him I also consign a great number of MS. 
letters written in English, French, and Italian, by 
various English established in Italy during the last 


98 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

century: the names of the writers, Lord Hervey, 
Lady M. W. Montague, (hers are but few some 
billets-doux in French to Algarotti, and one letter in 
English, Italian, and all sorts of jargon, to the same,) 
Gray, the poet (one letter), Mason (two or three), 
Garrick, Lord Chatham, David Hume, and many of 
lesser note, all addressed to Count Algarotti. Out 
of these, I think, with discretion, an amusing mis- 
cellaneous volume of letters might be extracted, 
provided some good editor were disposed to under- 
take the selection, and preface, and a few notes, c. 
" The proprietor of these is a friend of mine, Dr. 
Aglietti, a great name in Italy, and if you are 
disposed to publish, it will be for his benefit, and it is 
to and for him that you will name a price, if you 
take upon you the work, /would edite it myself, 
but am too far off, and too lazy to undertake it ; but 
I wish that it could be done. The letters of Lord 
Hervey, in Mr. Rose's* opinion and mine,are good; 

* Among Lord Byron's papers, I find some verses addressed 
to him, about this time, by Mr. W. Rose, with the following 
note annexed to them : " These verses were sent to me by 
W. S. Rose, from Abaro, in the spring of 1818. They are 
good and true ; and Rose is a fine fellow, and one of the few 
English who understand Italy, without which Italian is nothing." 
The verses begin thus : 

" Byron f, while you make gay what circle fits ye, 
Bandy Venetian slang with the Benzon, 
Or play at company with the Albrizzi, 

t " I have hunted out a precedent for this unceremonious 


and the short French love letters certainly are Lady 
M. W. Montague's the French not good, but the 
sentiments beautiful. Gray's letter good ; and 
Mason's tolerable. The whole correspondence must 
be well weeded ; but this being done, a small and 
pretty popular volume might be made of it. There 
are many ministers' letters Gray, the ambassador 
at Naples, Horace Mann, and others of the same 
kind of animal. 

" I thought of a preface, defending Lord Hervey 
against Pope's attack, but Pope quoad Pope, the 
poet against all the world, in the unjustifiable 
attempts begun by Warton and carried on at this 
day by the new school of critics and scribblers, who 
think themselves poets because they do not write 
like Pope. I have no patience with such cursed 
humbug and bad taste ; your whole generation are 
not worth a Canto of the Rape of the Lock, or the 
Essay on Man, or the Dunciad, or ' any thing that 
is his.' But it is three in the matin, and I must go 
to bed. Yours alway," &c. 


" Venice, April 17. 1818. 

" A few days ago, I wrote to you a letter, requesting 
vou to desire Hanson to desire his messenger to 

The self-pleased pedant, and patrician crone, 
Grimanis, Mocenigos, Balbis, Rizzi, 
Compassionate our cruel case, alone, 
Our pleasure an academy of frogs, 
Who nightly serenade us from the bogs," &c. &c. 
H 2 

100 . NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

come on from Geneva to Venice, because I won't go 
from Venice to Geneva ; and if this is not done, the 
messenger may be damned, with him who mis-sent 
him. Pray reiterate my request. 
" With the proofs returned, I sent two additional 
stanzas for Canto fourth : did they arrive ? 

" Your Monthly reviewer has made a mistake : 
Cavaliere, alone, is well enough; but 'Cavalier' 
servente' has always the e mute in conversation, and 
omitted in writing ; so that it is not for the sake of 
metre; and pray let Griffiths know this, with my 
compliments. I humbly conjecture that I know as 
much of Italian society and language as any of his 
people ; but, to make assurance doubly sure, I asked, 
at the Countess Benzona's last night, the question 
of more than one person in the office, and of these 

* cavalierz serventz' (in the plural, recollect) I found 
that they all accorded in pronouncing for ' cavalier* 
servente' in the singular number. I wish Mr. * * * * 
(or whoever Griffiths' scribbler may be) would not 
talk of what he don't understand. Such fellows are 
not fit to be intrusted with Italian, even in a quota- 

" Did you receive two additional stanzas, to be in- 
serted towards the close of Canto fourth ? Respond, 
that (if not) they may be sent. 

* " Tell Mr. * * and Mr. Hanson that they may as 
well expect Geneva to come to me, as that I should 
go to Geneva. The messenger may go on or return, 
as he pleases ; I won't stir : and I look upon it as a 
piece of singular absurdity in those who know me 
imagining that I should; not to say malice, in 



attempting unnecessary torture. If, on the occasion, 
my interests should suffer, it is their neglect that is 
to blame ; and they may all be d d together. 
" It is ten o'clock and time to dress. 

" Yours," &c. 


" April 23. 1818. 

" The time is past in which I could feel for the 
dead, or I should feel for the death of Lady 
Melbourne, the best, and kindest, and ablest female 
I ever knew, old or young. But * I have supped 
full of horrors,' and events of this kind have only a 
kind of numbness worse than pain, like a violent 
blow on the elbow or the head. There is one link 
less between England and myself. 

" Now to business. I presented you with Beppo, 
as part of the contract for Canto fourth, consider- 
ing the price you are to pay for the same, and in- 
tending to eke you out in case of public caprice or 
my own poetical failure. If you choose to suppress 
it entirely, at Mr. * * * *'s suggestion, you may do 
as you please. But recollect it is not to be published 
in a garbled or mutilated state. I reserve to my 
friends and myself the right of correcting the press ; 
if the publication continue, it is to continue in its 
present form. 

" As Mr. * * says that he did not write this letter, 

&c. I am ready to believe him ; but for the firmness 

of my former persuasion, I refer to Mr. * * * *, who 

can inform you how sincerely I erred on this point. 

H 3 

102 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

He has also the note or, at least, had it, for I gave 
it to him with my verbal comments thereupon. As 
to * Beppo,' I will not alter or suppress a syllable 
for any man's pleasure but my own. 

" You may tell them this ; and add, that nothing 
but force or necessity shall stir me one step towards 
places to which they would wring me. 

"If your literary matters prosper let me know. 
If' Beppo' pleases, you shall have more in a year or 
two in the same mood. And so ' Good morrow to 
you, good Master Lieutenant.' Yours," &c. 


" Palazzo Mocenigo, Canal Grande, 
" Venice, June 1. 1818. 

" Your letter is almost the only news, as yet, of 
Canto fourth, and it has by no means settled its fate, 

at least, does not tell me how the ' Poeshie' has 
been received by the public. But I suspect, no 
great things, firstly, from Murray's 'horrid still- 
ness ;' secondly, from what you say about the stanzas 
running into each other*, which I take not to be 
yours, but a notion you have been dinned with among 
the Blues. The fact is, that the terza rima of the 
Italians, which always runs on and in, may have led 
me into experiments, and carelessness into conceit 

or conceit into carelessness in either of which 
events failure will be probable, and my fair woman, 

* I had said, I think, in my letter to him, that this practice 
of carrying one stanza into another was " something like taking 
on horses another stage without baiting." 

i818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 103 

' superne,' end in a fish ; so that Childe Harold will 
be like the mermaid, my family crest, with the 
fourth Canto for a tail thereunto. I won't quarrel 
with the public, however, for the * Bulgars' are 
generally right ; and if I miss now, I may hit another 
time : and so, the ' gods give us joy.' 

" You like Beppo, that's right. I have not had 
the Fudges yet, but live in hopes. I need not say 
that your successes are mine. By the way, Lydia 
White is here, and has just borrowed my copy of 
1 Lalla Rookh.' 

" Hunt's letter is probably the exact piece of 
vulgar coxcombry you might expect from his situa- 
tion. He is a good man, with some poetical elements 
in his chaos ; but spoilt by the Christ- Church Hos- 
pital and a Sunday newspaper, to say nothing of 
the Surrey gaol, which conceited him into a martyr. 
But he is a good man. When I saw < Rimini ' in 
MS., I told him that I deemed it good poetry at 
bottom, disfigured only by a strange style. His 
answer was, that his style was a system, or upon 
system, or some such cant ; and, when a man talks 
of system, his case is hopeless : so I said no more 
to him, and very little to any one else. 

" He believes his trash of vulgar phrases tortured 
into compound barbarisms to be old English ; and we 
may say of it as Aimwell says of Captain Gibbet's 
regiment, when the Captain calls it an ' old corps,' 
the oldest in Europe, if I may judge by your uni- 
form.' He sent out his ' Foliage ' by Percy Shelley 
* * *, and, of all the ineffable Centaurs that were 
ever begotten by Self-love upon a Night-mare, I think 

104? NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

this monstrous Sagittary the most prodigious. He 
(Leigh H.) is an honest charlatan, who has per- 
suaded himself into a belief of his own impostures, 
and talks Punch in pure simplicity of heart, taking 
himself (as poor Fitzgerald said of himself in the 
Morning Post) for Votes in both senses, or nonsenses, 
of the word. Did you look at the translations of his 
own which he prefers to Pope and Cowper, and says 
so ? Did you read his skimble-skamble about * * 
being at the head of his own profession., in the eyes of 
those who followed it ? I thought that poetry was 
an art, or an attribute, and not a profession ; but be 
it one, is that ****** at the head of your profes- 
sion in your eyes ? I'll be curst if he is of mine, or 
ever shall be. He is the only one of us (but of us he 
is not) whose coronation I would oppose. Let them 
take Scott, Campbell, Crabbe, or you, or me, or any 
of the living, and throne him ; but not this new 
Jacob Behmen, this ****** whose pride might 
have kept him true, even had his principles turned 
as perverted as his soi-disant poetry. 

" But Leigh Hunt is a good man, and a good 
father see his Odes to all the Masters Hunt ; 
a good husband see his Sonnet to Mrs. Hunt ; 
a good friend see his Epistles to different people ; 
i and a great coxcomb and a very vulgar person 
in every thing about him. But that's not his fault, 
but of circumstances.* 

* I had, in first transcribing the above letter for the press, 
omitted the whole of this caustic, and, perhaps, over-severe 
character of Mr. Hunt ; but the tone of that gentleman's book 

1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 105 

" I do not know any good model for a life of 
Sheridan but that of Savage. Recollect, however, 
that the life of such a man may be made far more 
amusing than if he had been a Wilberforce ; and 
this without offending the living, or insulting the 
dead. The Whigs abuse him ; however, he never 
left them, and such blunderers deserve neither credit 
nor compassion. As for his creditors, remember, 
Sheridan never had a shilling, and was thrown, with 
great powers and passions, into the thick of the 
world, and placed upon the pinnacle of success, 
with no other external means to support him in his 
elevation. Did Fox * * * pay his debts ? or did 
Sheridan take a subscription ? Was the * * 's drunk- 
enness more excusable than his ? Were his intrigues 
more notorious than those of all his contemporaries ? 
and is his memory to be blasted, and theirs re- 
spected ? Don't let yourself be led away by clamour, 
but compare him with the coalitioner Fox, and the 
pensioner Burke, as a man of principle, and with 
ten hundred thousand in personal views, and with 
none in talent, for he beat them all out and out. 
Without means, without connection, without char- 
acter, (which might be false at first, and make him 
mad afterwards from desperation,) he beat them all, 
in all he ever attempted. But alas, poor human 
nature ! Good night or rather, morning. It is 
four, and the dawn gleams over the Grand Canal, 

having, as far as himself is concerned, released me from all 
those scruples which prompted the suppression, I have con- 
sidered myself at liberty to restore the passage. 

106 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

and unshadows the Rialto. I must to bed ; up all 
night but, as George Philpot says, ' it's life, though, 
damme, it's life ! ' Ever yours, B. 

" Excuse errors no time for revision. The post 
goes out at noon, and I sha'n't be up then. I will 
write again soon about your plan for a publication." 

During the greater part of the period which this 
last series of letters comprises, he had continued to 
occupy the same lodgings in an extremely narrow 
street called the Spezieria, at the house of the linen- 
draper, to whose lady he devoted so much of his 
thoughts. That he was, for the time, attached to this 
person, as far as a passion so transient can deserve 
the name of attachment, is evident from his whole 
conduct. The language of his letters shows suffi- 
ciently how much the novelty of this foreign tie had 
caught his fancy ; and to the Venetians, among whom 
such arrangements are mere matters of course, the 
assiduity with which he attended his Signora to the 
theatre, and the ridottos, was a subject of much 
armisement. It was with difficulty, indeed, that he 
could be prevailed upon to absent himself from her 
so long as to admit of that hasty visit to the Immortal 
City, out of which one of his own noblest titles to 
immortality sprung ; and having, in the space of a 
few weeks, drunk in more inspiration from all he 
saw than, in a less excited state, possibly, he might 
have imbibed in years, he again hurried back, with- 
out extending his journey to Naples, having writ- 
ten to the fair Marianna to meet him at some 
distance from Venice. 

1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 107 

Besides some seasonable acts of liberality to the 
husband, who had, it seems, failed in trade, he 
also presented to the lady herself a handsome set 
of diamonds ; and there is an anecdote related in 
reference to this gift, which shows the exceeding 
easiness and forbearance of his disposition towards 
those who had acquired any hold on his heart. A 
casket, which was for sale, being one day offered to 
him, he was not a little surprised on discovering them 
to be the same jewels which he had, not long be- 
fore, presented to his fair favourite, and which had, 
by some unromantic means, found their way back into 
the market. Without enquiring, however, any further 
into the circumstances, he generously repurchased 
the casket and presented it to the lady once more, 
good-humouredly taxing her with the very little 
estimation in which, as it appeared, she held his 

To whatever extent this unsentimental incident 
may have had a share in dispelling the romance of 
his passion, it is certain that, before the expiration 
of the first twelvemonth, he began to find his lodg- 
ings in the Spezieria inconvenient, and accordingly 
entered into treaty with Count Gritti for his Palace 
on the Grand Canal, engaging to give for it, what 
is considered, I believe, a large rent in Venice, 200 
louis a year. On finding, however, that, in the 
counterpart of the lease brought for his signature, a 
new clause had been introduced, prohibiting him not 
only from underletting the house, in case he should 
leave Venice, but from even allowing any of his own 
friends to occupy it during his occasional absence, 

108 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

he declined closing on such terms ; and resenting 
so material a departure from the original engagement, 
declared in society, that he would have no objection 
to give the same rent, though acknovvleged to 
be exorbitant, for any other palace in Venice, 
however inferior, in all respects, to Count Gritti's. 
After such an announcement, he was not likely to 
remain long unhoused ; and the Countess Mocenigo 
having offered him one of her three Palazzi, on the 
Grand Canal, he removed to this house in the sum- 
mer of the present year, and continued to occupy it 
during the remainder of his stay in Venice. 

Highly censurable, in point of morality and deco- 
rum, as was his course of life while under the roof 
of Madame * *, it was (with pain I am forced to 
confess) venial in comparison with the strange, 
headlong career of licence to which, when weaned 
from that connection, he so unrestrainedly and, it 
may be added, defyingly abandoned himself. Of 
the state of his mind on leaving England I have 
already endeavoured to convey some idea, and, 
among the feelings that went to make up that self- 
centred spirit of resistance which he then opposed 
to his fate, was an indignant scorn of his own coun- 
trymen for the wrongs he thought they had done 
him. For a time, the kindly sentiments which he 
still harboured towards Lady Byron, and a sort of 
vague hope, perhaps, that all would yet come right 
again, kept his mind in a mood somewhat more 
softened and docile, as well as sufficiently under the 
influence of English opinion to prevent his breaking 

1818. LIFE OF LOUD BYRON. 109 

out into such open rebellion against it, as he unluckily 
did afterwards. 

By the failure of the attempted mediation with 
Lady Byron, his last link with home was severed ; 
while, notwithstanding the quiet and unobtrusive 
life which he had led at Geneva, there was as yet, 
he found, no cessation of the slanderous warfare 
against his character ; the same busy and misre- 
presenting spirit which had tracked his every step 
at home having, with no less malicious watchfulness, 
dogged him into exile. To this persuasion, for 
which he had but too much grounds, was added all 
that an imagination like his could lend to truth, 
all that he was left to interpret, in his own way, of 
the absent and the silent, till, at length, arming 
himself against fancied enemies and wrongs, and, 
with the condition (as it seemed to him) of an out- 
law, assuming also the desperation, he resolved, as 
his countrymen would not do justice to the better 
parts of his nature, to have, at least, the perverse 
satisfaction of braving and shocking them with the 
worst. It is to this feeling, I am convinced, far 
more than to any depraved taste for such a course 
of life, that the extravagances to which he now, for 
a short time, gave loose, are to be attributed. The 
exciting effect, indeed, of this mode of existence 
while it lasted, both upon his spirits and his genius, 
so like what, as he himself tells us, was always pro- 
duced in him by a state of contest and defiance, 
showed how much of this latter feeling must have 
been mixed with his excesses. The altered cha- 
racter too, of his letters in this respect cannot fail, 

110 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

I think, to be remarked by the reader, there 
being, with an evident increase of intellectual vigour, 
a tone of violence and bravado breaking out in them 
continually, which marks the high pitch of re-action 
to which he had now wound up his temper. 

In fact, so far from the powers of his intellect 
being at all weakened or dissipated by these irregu- 
larities, he was, perhaps, at no time of his life, so 
actively in the full possession of all its energies ; and 
his friend Shelley, who went to Venice, at this pe- 
riod, to see him *, used to say, that all he observed of 

* The following are extracts from a letter of Shelley's to a 
friend at this time. 

" Venice, August, 1818. 

" We came from Padua hither in a gondola ; and the gon- 
dolier, among other things, without any hint on our part, be- 
gan talking of Lord Byron. He said he was a * Giovanotto 
Inglese,' with a ' nome stravagante,' who lived very luxuri- 
ously, and spent great sums of money. 

" At three o'clock I called on Lord Byron. He was delighted 
to see me, and our first conversation of course consisted in the 
object of our visit. He took me in his gondola, across the 
Laguna, to a long, strandy sand, which defends Venice from 
the Adriatic. When we disembarked, we found his horses 
waiting for us, and we rode along the sands, talking. Our 
conversation consisted in histories of his own wounded feelings, 
and questions as to my affairs, with great professions of friend- 
ship and regard for me. He said that if he had been in 
England, at the time of the Chancery affair, he would have 
moved heaven and earth to have prevented such a decision. 
He talked of literary matters, his fourth Canto, which he 
says is very good, and indeed repeated some stanzas, of great 
energy, to me. When we returned to his palace, which is one 
^f the most magnificent in Venice," &c. &c. 


the workings of Byron's mind, during his visit, gave 
him a far higher idea of its powers than he had ever 
before entertained. It was, indeed, then that Shelley 
sketched out, and chiefly wrote, his poem of " Ju- 
lian and Maddalo," in the latter of which personages 
he has so picturesquely shadowed forth his noble 
friend * ; and the allusions to " the Swan of Albion," 
in his " Lines written among the Euganean Hills," 
were also, I understand, the result of the same 
access of admiration and enthusiasm. 

In speaking of the Venetian women, in one of the 

* In the preface also to this poem, under the fictitious name 
of Count Maddalo, the following just and striking portrait of 
Lord Byron is drawn : 

" He is a person of the most consummate genius, and capa- 
ble, if he would direct his energies to such an end, of becoming 
the redeemer of his degraded country. But it is his weakness 
to be proud : he derives, from a comparison of his own ex- 
traordinary mind with the dwarfish intellects that surround him, 
an intense apprehension of the nothingness of human life. His 
passions and his powers are incomparably greater than those of 
other men, and instead of the latter having been employed in 
curbing the former, they have mutually lent each other strength. 
His ambition preys upon itself for want of objects which it can 
consider worthy of exertion. I say that Maddalo is proud, 
because I can find no other word to express the concentred and 
impatient feelings which consume him ; but it is on his own 
hopes and affections only that he seems to trample, for in social 
life no human being can be more gentle, patient, and un- 
assuming than Maddalo. He is cheerful, frank, and witty. 
His more serious conversation is a sort of intoxication. He 
has travelled much ; and there is an inexpressible charm in his 
relation of his adventures in different countries. " 

112 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

preceding letters, Lord Byron, it will be recollected, 
remarks, that the beauty for which they were once 
so celebrated is no longer now to be found among 
the " Dame," or higher orders, but all under the 
" fazzioli," or kerchiefs, of the lower. It was, 
unluckily, among these latter specimens of the 
" bel sangue " of Venice that he now, by a sudden- 
ness of descent in the scale of refinement, for which 
nothing but the present wayward state of his mind 
can account, chose to select the companions of his 
disengaged hours ; and an additional proof that, in 
this short, daring career of libertinism, he was but 
desperately seeking relief for a wronged and mor- 
tified spirit, and 

" What to us seem'd guilt might be but woe," 

is that, more than once, of an evening, when his 
house has been in the possession of such visitants, 
he has been known to hurry away in his gondola, 
and pass the greater part of the night upon the 
water, as if hating to return to his home. It is, in- 
deed, certain, that to this least defensible portion of 
his whole life he always looked back, during the 
short remainder of it, with painful self-reproach; 
and among the causes of the detestation which he 
afterwards felt for Venice, this recollection of the 
excesses to which he had there abandoned himself 
was not the least prominent. 

The most distinguished and, at last, the reigning 
favourite of all this unworthy Harem was a woman 
named Margarita Cogni, who has been already men- 


tioned in one of these letters, and who, from the 
trade of her husband, was known by the title of the 
Fornarina. A portrait of this handsome virago, 
drawn by Harlowe when at Venice, having fallen 
into the hands of one of Lord Byron's friends after 
the death of that artist, the noble poet, on being ap- 
plied to for some particulars of his heroine, wrote a 
long letter on the subject, from which the following 
are extracts : 

" Since you desire the story of Margarita Cogni, 
you shall be told it, though it may be lengthy, 

" Her face is the fine Venetian cast of the old 
time ; her figure, though perhaps too tall, is not less 
fine and taken altogether in the national dress. 

" In the summer of 181 7, **** and myself were 
sauntering on horseback along the Brenta one even- 
ing, when, amongst a group of peasants, we re- 
marked two girls as the prettiest we had seen for 
some time. About this period, there had been 
great distress in the country, and I had a little re- 
lieved some of the people. Generosity makes a 
great figure at very little cost in Venetian livres, 
and mine had probably been exaggerated as an En- 
glishman's. Whether they remarked us looking at 
them or no, I know not ; but one of them called out 
to me in Venetian, ' Why do not you, who relieve 
others, think of us also ?' I turned round and an- 
swered her <Cara, tu sei troppo bella e giovane 
per aver' bisogna del* soccorso mio.' She answered, 
If you saw my hut and my food, you would not say 
so.' All this passed half jestingly, and I saw no 
more of her for some days. 


114 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

A few evenings after, we met with these two 
girls again, and they addressed us more seriously, 
assuring us of the truth of their statement. They 
were cousins ; Margarita married, the other single. 
As I doubted still of the circumstances, I took the 
business in a different light, and made an appoint- 
ment with them for the next evening. In short, in 
a few evenings we arranged our affairs, and for a 
long space of time she was the only one who pre- 
served over me an ascendency which was often 
disputed, and never impaired. 

" The reasons of this were, firstly, her person ; 
very dark, tall, the Venetian face, very fine black 
eyes. She was two-and-twenty years old, * * * 
She was, besides, a thorough Venetian in her dialect, 
in her thoughts, in her countenance, in every thing, 
with all their naivete and pantaloon humour. Be- 
sides, she could neither read nor write, and could 
not plague me with letters, except twice that she 
paid sixpence to a public scribe, under the piazza, 
to make a letter for her, upon some occasion when 
I was ill and could not see her. In other respects, she 
was somewhat fierce and * prepotente,' that is, over- 
bearing, and used to walk in whenever it suited her, 
with no very great regard to time, place, ' nor per- 
sons ; and if she found any women in her way, she 
knocked them down. 

" When I first knew her, I was in relazione ' 
(liaison) with la Signora * *, who was silly enough 
one evening at Dolo, accompanied by some of her 
female friends, to threaten her ; for the gossips of 
the villeggiatura had already found out, by the 

1818. LIFE OP LORD BYRON. 115 

neighing of my horse one evening, that I used to 
* ride late in the night ' to meet the Fornarina. Mar- 
garita threw back her veil (fazziolo), and replied in 
very explicit Venetian, * You are not his wife: I 
am not his wife : you are his Donna, and / am his 
Donna: your husband is a becco, and mine is 
another. For the rest, what right have you to 
reproach me ? If he prefers me to you, is it my 
fault? If you wish to secure him, tie him to your 
petticoat-string. But do not think to speak to me 
without a reply, because you happen to be richer 
than I am.' Having delivered this pretty piece of 
eloquence (which I translate as it was related to me 
by a bystander), she went on her way, leaving a nu- 
merous audience with Madame * *, to ponder at her 
leisure on the dialogue between them. 

" When I came to Venice for the winter, she fol- 
lowed ; and as she found herself out to be a favourite, 
she came to me pretty often. But she had inordi- 
nate self-love, and was not tolerant of other women. 
At the c Cavalchina,' the masked ball on the last 
night of the carnival, where all the world goes, she 
snatched off the mask of Madame Contarini, a lady 
noble by birth, and decent in conduct, for no other 
reason, but because she happened to be leaning on 
my arm. You may suppose what a cursed noise 
this made ; but this is only one of her pranks. 

" At last she quarrelled with her husband, and one 
evening ran away to my house. I told her this would 
not do : she said she would lie in the street, but not go 
back to him ; that he beat her, (the gentle tigress !) 
spent her money, and scandalously neglected her. 
i 2 

116 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

As it was midnight I let her stay, and next day there 
was no moving her at all. Her husband came, roar- 
ing and crying, and entreating her to come back : 
not she I He then applied to the police, and they 
applied to me: I told them and her husband to take 
her ; I did not want her ; she had come, and I could not 
fling her out of the window ; but they might conduct 
her through that or the door if they chose it. She 
went before the commissary, but was obliged to 
return with that < becco ettico,' as she called the 
poor man, who had a phthisic. In a few days she 
ran away again. After a precious piece of work, 
she fixed herself in my house, really and truly with- 
out my consent ; but, owing to my indolence, and 
not being able to keep my countenance, for if I began 
in a rage, she always finished by making me laugh 
with some Venetian pantaloonery or another ; and 
the gipsy knew this well enough, as well as her other 
powers of persuasion, and exerted them with the 
usual tact and success of all she-things ; high and 
low, they are all alike for that. 

" Madame Benzoni also took her under her pro- 
tection, and then her head turned. She was always 
in extremes, either crying or laughing, and so fierce 
when angered, that she was the terror of men, 
women, and children for she had the strength of 
an Amazon, with the temper of Medea. She was a 
fine animal, but quite untameable. / was the only 
person that could at all keep her in any order, and 
when she saw me really angry (which they tell me 
is a savage sight), she subsided. But she had a 
thousand fooleries. In her fazziolo, the dress of 

1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 117 

the lower orders, she looked beautiful ; but, alas ! 
she longed for a hat and feathers ; and all I could 
say or do (and I said much) could not prevent this 
travestie. I put the first into the fire ; but I got 
tired of burning them, before she did of buying 
them, so that she made herself a figure for they 
did not at all become her. 

" Then she would have her gowns with a tail 
like a lady, forsooth ; nothing would serve her but 
' 1'abita colla coua,' or cua, (that is the Venetian for 
' la cola,' the tail or train,) and as her cursed pro- 
nunciation of the word made me laugh, there was 
an end of all controversy, and she dragged this 
diabolical tail after her every where. 

" In the mean time, she beat the women and 
stopped my letters. I found her one day pondering 
over one. She used to try to find out by their shape 
whether they were feminine or no ; and she used to 
lament her ignorance, and actually studied her 
alphabet, on purpose (as she declared) to open all 
letters addressed to me and read their contents. 

" I must not omit to do justice to her housekeep- 
ing qualities. After she came into my house as 
* donna di governo,' the expenses were reduced to 
less than half, and every body did their duty better 
the apartments were kept in order, and every 
thing and every body else, except herself. 

" That she had a sufficient regard for me in her 
wild way, I had many reasons to believe. I will 
mention one. In the autumn, one day, going to the 
Lido with my gondoliers, we were overtaken by a 
heavy squall, and the gondola put in peril hats 

118 KOTfCES OF THE 1818. 

blown away, boat 6Ding, oar lost, tumbling tea, 
thunder, rain in torrents, night coming, and wind 
unceasing. On our return, after a tight struggle, I 
found her on the open step* of the Mocenigo palace, 
on the Grand Canal, with her great black eyes 
flashing through her tears, and the long dark hair, 
which was streaming, drenched with rain, over her 
brows and breast. She was perfectly exposed to 
the storm ; and the wind blowing her hair and dress 
about her thin tall figure, and the lightning flashing 
round her, and the waves rolling at her feet, made 
her look like Medea alighted from her chariot, or the 
Sibyl of the tempest that was rolling around her, 
the only living thing within hail at that moment ex- 
cept ourselves. On teeing me safe, she did not 
wait to greet me, as might have been expected, but 
calling out to me * Ah J can' della Madonna, xe 
esto il tempo per aridar* aT Lido ? ' (Ah ! dog of the 
Virgin, is this a time to go to Lido ?) ran into the 
house, and solaced herself with scolding the boatmen 
for not foreseeing the * temporale/ I am told by the 
servants that she had only been prevented from 
coming in a boat to look after me, by the refusal of all 
the gondolier* of the canal to put out into the liar* 
bour in such a moment ; and that then she sat down 
on the steps in all the thickest of the squall, and 
would neither be removed nor comforted. Her joy 
at seeing me again was moderately mixed with fero- 
city, and gave me the idea of a tigress over her 
recovered cubs. 

" But her reign drew near a close. She became 
quite ungovernable some months after, and a con* 

1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON*. 119 

currence of complaints, some true, and many false 
a favourite has no friends ' determined me to 
part with her. I told her quietly that she must re- 
turn home, (she had acquired a sufficient provision 
for herself and mother, &c. in my service,) and she 
refused to quit the house. I was firm, and she 
went threatening knives and revenge. I told her 
that I had seen knives drawn before her time, and 
that if she chose to begin, there was a knife, and fork 
also, at her service on the table, and that intimida- 
tion would not do. The next day, while I was at 
dinner, she walked in, (having broken open a glass 
door that led from the hall below to the staircase, by 
way of prologue,) and advancing straight up to the 
table, snatched the knife from my hand, cutting me 
slightly in the thumb in the operation. Whether 
she meant to use this against herself or me, I know 
not probably against neither but Fletcher seized 
her by the arms, and disarmed her. I then called 
my boatmen, and desired them to get the gondola 
ready, and conduct her to her own house again, see* 
ing carefully that she did herself no mischief by 
seemed quite quiet, and walked down 
stairs. I resumed my dinner. 

We heard a great noise, and went out, and met 
them on the staircase, carrying her up stairs. She 
had thrown herself into the canal. That she intended 
to destroy herself, I do not believe ; but when we 
consider the tear women and men who can't swim 
have of deep or even of shallow water, (and the Ve- 
netians in particular, though they live on the waves,) 
ami that it w.., xl dark, and very cokt 

i i 


it shows that she had a devilish spirit of some sort 
within her. They had got her out without much 
difficulty or damage, excepting the salt water she 
had swallowed, and the wetting she had undergone. 

" I foresaw her intention to refix herself, and sent 
for a surgeon, enquiring how many hours it would 
require to restore her from her agitation ; and he 
named the time. I then said, I give you that 
time, and more if you require it ; but at the expir- 
ation of this prescribed period, if she does not leave 
the house, /will.' 

" All my people were consternated. They had 
always been frightened at her, and were now para- 
lysed : they wanted me to apply to the police, to 
guard myself, &c. &c. like a pack of snivelling 
servile boobies as they were. I did nothing of the 
kind, thinking that I might as well end that way as 
another ; besides, I had been used to savage women, 
and knew their ways. 

" I had her sent home quietly after her recovery, 
and never saw her since, except twice at the opera, 
at a distance amongst the audience. She made 
many attempts to return, but no more violent ones. 
And this is the story of Margarita Cogni, as far as 
it relates to me. 

" I forgot to mention that she was very devout, 
and would cross herself if she heard the prayer 
time strike. 

" She was quick in reply ; as, for instance One 
day when she had made me very angry with beating 
somebody or other, I called her a cow (cow., in Italian, 
is a sad affront). I called her Vacca.' She turned 

1818. LIFE OF LORD BYROX. 121 

round, courtesied, and answered, ' Vacca tua, 'ce- 
lenza' (i. e. eccelenza). Your cow, please your Ex- 
cellency.' In short, she was, as I said before, a very 
fine animal, of considerable beauty and energy, with 
many good and several amusing qualities, but wild 
as a witch and fierce as a demon. She used to boast 
publicly of her ascendency over me, contrasting it 
with that of other women, and assigning for it sundry 
reasons. True it was, that they all tried to get her 
away, and no one succeeded till her own absurdity 
helped them. 

" I omitted to tell you her answer, when I re- 
proached her for snatching Madame Contarini's 
mask at the Cavalchina. I represented to her that 
she was a lady of high birth, ' una Dama,' &c. She 
answered, * Se ella e dama mi (io) son Veneziana;' 
< If she is a lady, I am a Venetian.' This would 
have been fine a hundred years ago, the pride of 
the nation rising up against the pride of aristocracy : 
but, alas ! Venice, and her people, and her nobles, 
are alike returning fast to the ocean; and where 
there is no independence, there can be no real self- 
respect. I believe that I mistook or mis-stated one 
of her phrases in my letter ; it should have been 
6 Can' della Madonna cosa vus* tu? esto non e 
tempo per andar' a Lido ? ' ' 

It was at this time, as we shall see by the letters 
I am about to produce, and as the features, indeed, 
of the progeny itself would but too plainly indicate, 
that he conceived, and wrote some part of, his 
poem of ' Don Juan ;' and never did pages more 


faithfully and, in many respects, lamentably, reflect 
every variety of feeling, and whim, and passion that, 
like the wrack of autumn, swept across the author's 
mind in writing them. Nothing less, indeed, than 
that singular combination of attributes, which existed 
and were in full activity in his mind at this moment, 
could have suggested, or been capable of, the exe- 
cution of such a work. The cool shrewdness of 
age, with the vivacity and glowing temperament of 
youth, the wit of a Voltaire, with the sensibility 
of a Rousseau, the minute, practical knowledge 
of the man of society, with the abstract and self- 
contemplative spirit of the poet, a susceptibility 
of all that is grandest and most affecting in human 
virtue, with a deep, withering experience of all that 
is most fatal to it, the two extremes, in short, of 
man's mixed and inconsistent nature, now rankly 
smelling of earth, now breathing of heaven, such 
was the strange assemblage of contrary elements, 
all meeting together in the same mind, and all 
brought to bear, in turn, upon the same task, from 
which alone could have sprung this extraordinary 
poem, the most powerful and, in many respects, 
painful display of the versatility of genius that has 
ever been left for succeeding ages to wonder at and 

I shall now proceed with his correspondence, 
having thought some of the preceding observ- 
ations necessary, not only to explain to the reader 
much of what he will find in these letters, but to 
account to him for much that has been necessarily 



" Venice, June 18. 1818. 

" Business and the utter and inexplicable silence 
of all my correspondents renders me impatient and 
troublesome. I wrote to Mr. Hanson for a balance 
which is (or ought to be) in his hands ; no answer. 
I expected the messenger with the Newstead papers 
two months ago, and instead of him, I received a 
requisition to proceed to Geneva, which (from * *, 
who knows my wishes and opinions about approach- 
ing England) could only be irony or insult. 

" I must, therefore, trouble you to pay into my 
bankers' immediately whatever sum or sums you can 
make it convenient to do on our agreement ; other- 
wise, I shall be put to the severest and most imme- 
diate inconvenience ; and this at a time when, by 
every rational prospect and calculation, I ought to be 
in the receipt of considerable sums. Pray do not 
neglect this; you have no idea to what inconvenience 
you will otherwise put me. * * had some absurd 
notion about the disposal of this money in annuity (or 
God knows what), which I merely listened to when 
he was here to avoid squabbles and sermons ; but I 
have occasion for the principal, and had never any 
serious idea of appropriating it otherwise than to 
answer my personal expenses. Hobhouse's wish is, 
if .possible, to .force me back to England * : he will 
not succeed ; and if he did, I would not stay. I 
_hate the country, and like this ; and all foolish op- 

* Deeply is it, for many reasons, to be regretted that this 
friendly purpose did not succeed. 



position, of course, merely adds to the feeling. Your 
silence makes me doubt the success of Canto 
fourth. If it has failed, I will make such deduction 
as you think proper and fair from the original agree- 
ment ; but I could wish whatever is to be paid were 
remitted to me, without delay, through the usual 
channel, by course of post. 

" When I tell you that I have not heard a word 
from England since very early in May, I have made 
the eulogium of my friends, or the persons who call 
themselves so, since I have written so often and in 
the greatest anxiety. Thank God, the longer I 
am absent, the less cause I see for regretting the 
country or its living contents. I am yours," &c. 


" Venice, July 10. 1818. 

" I have received your letter and the credit from 
Morlands, &c. for whom I have also drawn upon 
you at sixty days' sight for the remainder, according 
to your proposition. 

" I am still waiting in Venice, in expectancy of 
the arrival of Hanson's clerk. What can detain 
him, I do not know ; but I trust that Mr. Hobhouse, 
and Mr. Kinnaird, when their political fit is abated, 
will take the trouble to enquire and expedite him, 
as I have nearly a hundred thousand pounds de- 
pending upon the completion of the sale and the 
signature of the papers. 

" The draft on you is drawn up by Siri and Will- 


halm. I hope that the form is correct. I signed it 
two or three days ago, desiring them to forward it 
to Messrs. Morland and Ransom. 

" Your projected editions for November had better 
be postponed, as I have some things in project, or 
preparation, that may be of use to you, though not 
very important in themselves. I have completed an 
Ode on Venice, and have two Stories, one serious 
and one ludicrous (a la Beppo), not yet finished, 
and in no hurry to be so. 

" You talk of the letter to Hobhouse being much 
admired, and speak of prose. I think of writing 
(for your full edition) some Memoirs of my life, to 
prefix to them, upon the same model (though far 
enough, I fear, from reaching it) of Gifford, Hume, 
&c. ; and this without any intention of making dis- 
closures or remarks upon living people, which would 
be unpleasant to them : but I think it might be done, 
and well done. However, this is to be considered. 
I have materials in plenty, but the greater part of 
them could not be used by me, nor for these hun- 
dred years to come. However, there is enough 
without these, and merely as a literary man, to make 
a preface for such an edition as you meditate. But 
this is by the way : I have not made up my mind. 

" I enclose you a note on the subject of * Pa- 
risina, which Hobhouse can dress for you. It is an 
extract of particulars from a history of Ferrara. 

" I trust you have been attentive to Missiaglia, for 
the English have the character of neglecting the 
Italians, at present, which I hope you will redeem. 
" Yours in haste, B." 

126 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 


" Venice, July 17. 1818. 

" I suppose that Aglietti will take whatever you 
offer, but till his return from Vienna I can make him 
no proposal ; nor, indeed, have you authorised me to 
do so. The three French notes are by Lady Mary; 
also another half-English-French-Italian. They are 
very pretty and passionate ; it is a pity that a piece 
of one of them is lost. Algarotti seems to have 
treated her ill ; but she was much his senior, and all 
women are used ill or say so, whether they are 
or not. 

" I shall be glad of your books and powders. I 
am still in waiting for Hanson's clerk, but luckily 
not at Geneva. All my good friends wrote to me 
to hasten there to meet him, but not one had the 
good sense or the good nature, to write afterwards 
to tell me that it would be time and ajourney thrown 
away, as he could not set off for some months after 
the period appointed. If I had taken the journey 
on the general suggestion, I never would have spoken, 
again to one of you as long as I existed. I have 
written to request Mr. Kinnaird, when the foam of 
his politics is wiped away, to extract a positive 
answer from that * * * *, and not to keep me in a 
state of suspense upon the subject. I hope that 
Kinnaird, who has my power of attorney, keeps a 
look-out upon the gentleman, which is the more 
necessary, as I have a great dislike to the idea of 
coming over to look after him myself. 

" I have several things begun, verse and prose, 

1818. LIFE OP LORD BYRON. 127 

but none in much forwardness. I have written some 
six or seven sheets of a Life, which I mean to con- 
tinue, and send you when finished. It may perhaps 
serve for your projected editions. If you would tell 
me exactly (for I know nothing, and have no corre- 
spondents except on business) the state of the re- 
ception of our late publications, and the feeling 
upon them, without consulting any delicacies (I am 
too seasoned to require them), I should know how 
and in what manner to proceed. I should not like 
to give them too much, which may probably have 
been the case already; but, as I tell you, I know 

" I once wrote from the fulness of my mind and 
the love of fame, (not as an end, but as a means, to 
obtain that influence over men's minds which is 
power in itself and in its consequences,) and now 
from habit and from avarice ; so that the effect may 
probably be as different as the inspiration. I have 
the same facility, and indeed necessity, of com- 
position, to avoid idleness (though idleness in a hot 
country is a pleasure), but a much greater indif- 
ference to what is to become of it, after it has 
served my immediate purpose. However, I should 

on no account like to but I won't go on, like 

the Archbishop of Granada, as I am very sure that 
you dread the fate of Gil Bias, and with good 
reason. Yours, &c. 

" P. S. I have written some very savage letters to 
Mr. Hobhouse, Kinnaird, to you, and to Hanson, 
because the silence of so long a time made me tear 
off my remaining rags of patience. I have seen one 

128 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

or two late English publications which are no great 
things, except Rob Roy. I shall be glad of Whistle- 


" Venice, August 26. 1818. 

" You may go on with your edition, without cal- 
culating on the Memoir, which I shall not publish at 
present. It is nearly finished, but will be too long ; 
and there are so many things, which, out of regard 
to the living, cannot be mentioned, that I have writ- 
ten with too much detail of that which interested 
me least ; so that my autobiographical Essay would 
resemble the tragedy of Hamlet at the country 
theatre, recited * with the part of Hamlet left out 
by particular desire.' I shall keep it among my 
papers ; it will be a kind of guide-post in case of 
death, and prevent some of the lies which would 
otherwise be told, and destroy some which have 
been told already. 

" The tales also are in an unfinished state, and I 
can fix no time for their completion : they are also 
not in the best manner. You must not, therefore, 
calculate upon any thing in time for this edition. 
The Memoir is already above forty-four sheets of 
very large, long paper, and will be about fifty or 
sixty; but I wish to go on leisurely; and when 
finished, although it might do a good deal for you 
at the time, I am not sure that it would serve any 
good purpose in the end either, as it is full of many 
passions and prejudices, of which it has been impos- 

1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 129 

sible for me to keep clear: I have not the pa- 

" Enclosed is a list of books which Dr. Aglietti 
would be glad to receive by way of price for his MS. 
letters ; if you are disposed to purchase at the rate 
of fifty pounds sterling. These he will be glad to 
have as part, and the rest /will give him in money, 
and you may carry it to the account of books, &c 
which is in balance against me, deducting it accord- 
ingly. So that the letters are yours, if you like 
them, at this rate ; and he and I are going to hunt 
for more Lady Montague letters, which he thinks 
of finding. I write m haste. Thanks for the article* 

and believe me 

" Yours," &c. 

To the charge brought against Lord Byron by 
some English travellers of being, in general, repul- 
sive and inhospitable to his own countrymen, I have 
already made allusion; and shall now add to the 
testimony then cited in disproof of such a charge 
some particulars, communicated to me by Captairi 
Basil Hall, which exhibit the courtesy and kindliness 
of the noble poet's disposition in their true, natural 

On the last day of August, 1818 (says this dis- 
tinguished writer and traveller), I was taken ill with 
an ague at Venice, and having heard enough of the 
low state of the medical art in that country, I was 
not a little anxious as to the advice I should take; 
I was not acquainted with any person in Venice to 
whom I could refer, and had only one letter of in- 


130 . NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

troduction, which was to Lord Byron ; but as there 
were many stories floating about of his Lordship's 
unwillingness to be pestered with tourists, I had felt 
unwilling, before this moment, to intrude myself in 
that shape. Now, however, that I was seriously 
unwell, I felt sure that this offensive character would 
merge in that of a countryman in distress, and I 
sent the letter by one of my travelling companions 
to Lord Byrcn's lodgings, with a note, excusing the 
liberty I was taking, explaining that I was in want 
of medical assistance, and saying I should not send 
to any one till I heard the name of the person who, 
in his Lordship's opinion, was the best practitioner in 

" Unfortunately for me, Lord Byron was still in 
bed, though it was near noon, and still more unfor- 
tunately, the bearer of my message scrupled to 
awake him, without first coming back to consult me. 
By this time I was in all the agonies of a cold ague 
fit, and, therefore, not at all in a condition to be 
consulted upon any thing so I replied pettishly, 
* Oh, by no means disturb Lord Byron on my ac- 
count ring for the landlord, and send for any one 
he recommends.' This absurd injunction being forth- 
with and literally attended to, in the course of an 
hour I was under the discipline of mine host's friend, 
whose skill and success it is no part of my present 
purpose to descant upon : it is sufficient to men- 
tion that I was irrevocably in his hands long before 
the following most kind note was brought to me, in 
great haste, by Lord Byron's servant. 

1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 133 

" Venice, August 31. 1818. 
< Dear Sir, 

" * Dr. Aglietti is the best physician, not only 
in Venice, but in Italy : his residence is on the Grand 
Canal, and easily found ; I forget the number, but 
am probably the only person in Venice who don't 
know it. There is no comparison between him and 
any of the other medical people here. I regret very 
much to hear of your indisposition, and shall do 
myself the honour of waiting upon you the moment 
I am up. I write this in bed, and have only just 
received the letter and note. I beg you to believe 
that nothing but the extreme lateness of my hours 
could have prevented me from replying immediately, 
or coming in person. I have not been called a mi- 
nute. I have the honour to be, very truly, 

" < Your most obedient servant, , 

" His Lordship soon followed this note, and I 
heard his voice in the next room ; but although he 
waited more than an hour, I could not see him, 
being under the inexorable hands of the doctor. In 
the course of the same evening he again called, but 
I was asleep. When I awoke I found his Lordship's 
valet sitting by my bedside. * He had his master's 
orders,' he said, ' to remain with me while I was 
unwell, and was instructed to say, that whatever his 
Lordship had, or could procure, was at my service, 
and that he would come to me and sit with me, or 
do whatever I liked, if I would only let him know in 
\vhat way he could be useful.' 
K 2 

132 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

" Accordingly, on the next day, 1 sent for some 
book, which was brought, with a list of his library. 
I forget what it was which prevented my seeing 
Lord Byron on this day, though he called more than 
once ; and on the next, I was too ill with fever to 
talk to any one. 

" The moment I could get out, I took a gondola 
and went to pay my respects, and to thank his Lord- 
ship for his attentions. It was then nearly three 
o'clock, but he was not yet up ; and when I went 
again on the following day at five, I had the morti- 
fication to learn that he had gone, at the same hour, 
to call upon me, so that we had crossed each other 
on the canal ; and, to my deep and lasting regret, I 
was obliged to leave Venice without seeing him." 


" Venice, September 19. 1818. 

" An English newspaper here would be a prodigy, 
and an opposition one a monster ; and except some 
ex tracts from, extracts in the vile, garbled Paris ga- 
zettes, nothing cf the kind reaches the Veneto-Lom- 
bard public, who are, perhaps, the most oppressed in 
Europe. My correspondences with England are 
mostly on business, and chiefly with my * * *, who 
has no very exalted notion, or extensive conception, 
of an author's attributes ; for he once took up an 
Edinburgh Review, and, looking at it a minute, said 
to me, ' So, I see you have got into the magazine/ 
which is the only sentence I ever heard him utter 
upon literary matters, or the men thereof. 

1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 133 

" My first news of your Irish Apotheosis has, con- 
sequently, been from yourself. But, as it will not be 
forgotten in a hurry, either by your friends or your 
enemies, I hope to have it more in detail from some 
of the former, and, in the mean time, I wish you joy 
with all my heart. Such a moment must have been 
a good deal better than Westminster-abbey, be- 
sides being an assurance of that one day (many years 
hence, I trust,) into the bargain. 

" I am sorry to perceive, however, by the close of 
your letter, that even you have not escaped the 
* surgit amari,' &c. and that your damned deputy 
has been gathering such dew from the still vext 
Bermoothes' or rather vexatious. Pray, give me 
some items of the affair, as you say it is a serious 
one ; and, if it grows more so, you should make a 
trip over here for a few months, to see how things 
turn out. I suppose you are a violent admirer of 
England by your staying so long in it. For my own 
part, I have passed, between the age of one-and- 
twenty and thirty, half the intervenient years out of 
it without regretting any thing, except that I ever 
returned to it at all, and the gloomy prospect before 
me of business and parentage obliging me, one day, 
to return to it again, at least, for the transaction 
of affairs, the signing of papers, and inspecting of 

" I have here my natural daughter, by name Al^ 
legra, a pretty little girl enough, and reckoned 
Tike "papa.* Her mamma is English, but it is a 

* This little child had been sent to him by its mother about 
four or five months before, under the care of a Swiss nurse, a 
K 3 

134 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

long story, and there's an end. She is about 
twenty months old. 

" I have finished the first Canto (a long one, of 
about 180 octaves) of a poem in the style and man- 
ner of Beppo,' encouraged by the good success of 
the same. It is called ' Don Juan,' and is meant to 
be a little quietly facetious upon every thing. But 
I doubt whether it is not at least, as far as it has 
yet gone too free for these very modest days. 
However, I shall try the experiment, anonymously, 
and if it don't take, it will be discontinued. It is 
dedicated to S * * in good, simple, savage verse, 
upon the * * * *'s politics, and the way he got them. 
But the bore of copying it out is intolerable ; and if 

young girl not above nineteen or twenty years of age, and in 
every respect unfit to have the charge of such an infant, without 
the superintendence of some more experienced person. " The 
child, accordingly," says my informant, " was but ill taken 
care of ; not that any blame could attach to Lord Byron, 
for he always expressed himself most anxious for her welfare, 
but because the nurse wanted the necessary experience. The 
poor girl was equally to be pitied ; for, as Lord Byron's house- 
hold consisted of English and Italian men servants, with 
whom she could hold no converse, and as there was no other 
female to consult with and assist her in her charge, nothing 
could be more forlorn than her situation proved to be." 

Soon after the date of the above letter, Mrs. Hoppner, the 
lady of the Consul General, who had, from the first, in com- 
passion both to father and child, invited the little Allegra oc- 
casionally to her house, very kindly proposed to Lord Byron 
to take charge of her altogether, and an arrangement was 
accordingly concluded upon for that purpose. 


I had an amanuensis he would be of no use, as my 
writing is so difficult to decipher. 

" My poem's Epic, and is meant to be 

Divided in twelve books, each book containing 

With love and war, a heavy gale at sea 

A list of ships, and captains, and kings reigning 

New characters, c. &c. 

The above are two stanzas, which I send you as a 
brick of my Babel, and by which you can judge of 
the texture of the structure. 

" In writing the Life of Sheridan, never mind the 
angry lies of the humbug Whigs. Recollect that he 
was an Irishman and a clever fellow, and that we 
have had some very pleasant days with him. Don't 
forget that he was at school at Harrow, where, in 
my time, we used to show his name R. B. Sheri- 
dan, 1765, as an honour to the walls. Remem- 
ber * *. Depend upon it that there were 
worse folks going, of that gang, than ever Sheridan 

" What did Parr mean by * haughtiness and cold- 
ness ? ' I listened to him with admiring ignorance, 
and respectful silence. What more could a talker 
for fame have ? they don't like to be answered. It 
was at Payne Knight's I met him, where he gave 
me more Greek than I could carry away. But I 
certainly meant to (and did) treat him with the most 
respectful deference. 

" I wish you a good night, with a Venetian bene- 
diction, ' Benedetto te, e la terra che ti fara ! ' 
* May you be blessed, and the earth which you will 
K 4 

136 NOTICES OF THE 1818. 

make ! ' is it not pretty ? You would think it still 
prettier if you had heard it, as I did two hours ago, 
from the lips of a Venetian girl, with large black 
eyes, a face like Faustina's, and the figure of a Juno 
tall and energetic as a Pythoness, with eyes flash- 
ing, and her dark hair streaming in the moonlight 
one of those women who may be made any thing. 
I am sure if I put a poniard into the hand of this 
one, she would plunge it where I told her, and 
into me, if I offended her. I like this kind of animal, 
and am sure that I should have preferred Medea to 
any woman that ever breathed. You may, perhaps, 
wonder that I don't in that case. I could have for- 
given the dagger or the bowl, any thing, but the 
deliberate desolation piled upon me, when I stood 
alone upon my hearth, with my household gods shi- 
vered around me. f * * Do you suppose I 
have forgotten or forgiven it? It has compara- 
tively swallowed up in me every other feeling, and 
I am only a spectator upon earth, till a tenfold op- 
portunity offers. It may come yet. There are 
others more to be blamed than * * * *, and it is on 
these that my eyes are fixed unceasingly." 


" Venice, September 24. 1818. 

" In the one hundredth and thirty-second stanza 
of Canto fourth, the stanza runs in the manuscript 

f " I had one only fount of quiet left, 

And that they poison'd ! My pure household gods 
Were shivered on my hearth." MARINO FALIERO. 

1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 13? 

" And thou, who never yet of human wrong 
Left the unbalanced scale, great Nemesis ! 

and not l lost,' which is nonsense, as what losing a 
scale means, I know not ; but leaving an unbalanced 
scale, or a scale unbalanced, is intelligible.* Correct 
this, I pray, not for the public, or the poetry, but 
I do not choose to have blunders made in addressing 
any of the deities so seriously as this is addressed. 

" Yours, &c. 
" P. S. In the translation from the Spanish, alter 

" In increasing squadrons flew, 


" To a mighty squadron grew. 

" What does ' thy waters wasted them ' mean (in 
the Canto) ? That is not me. f Consult the MS. 

" I have written the first Canto (180 octave stan- 
zas) of a poem in the style of Beppo, and have 
Mazeppa to finish besides. 

" In referring to the mistake in stanza 132. 1 take 
the opportunity to desire that in future, in all parts 
of my writings referring to religion, you will be more 
careful, and not forget that it is possible that in ad- 
dressing the Deity a blunder may become a blas- 
phemy ; and I do not choose to suffer such infamous 
perversions of my words or of my intentions. 

" I saw the Canto by accident." 

* This correction, I observe, has never been made, the 
passage still remaining, unmeaningly, 

" Lost the unbalanced scale." 
f* This passage also remains uncorrected. 

138 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 


" Venice, January 20. 1819. 

" The opinions which I have asked of Mr. H. and 
others were with regard to the poetical merit, and 
not as to what they may think due to the cant 01 
the day, which still reads the Bath Guide, Little's 
Poems, Prior, and Chaucer, to say nothing of Field- 
ing and Smollet. If published, publish entire, with 
the above-mentioned exceptions ; or you may publish 
anonymously, or not at all. In the latter event, print 
50 on my account, for private distribution. 

" Yours, &c. 

" I have written to Messrs. K. and H. to desire 
that they will not erase more than I have stated. 

" The second Canto of Don Juan is finished in 
206 stanzas." 


" Venice, January 25. 1819. 

" You will do me the favour to print privately 
(for private distribution) fifty copies of < Don Juan.' 
The list of the men to whom I wish it to be pre- 
sented, I will send hereafter. The other two poems 
had best be added to the collective edition : I do not 
approve of their being published separately. Print 
Don Juan entire, omitting, of course, the lines on 
Castlereagh, as I am not on the spot to meet him. 
I have a second Canto ready, which will be sent 
by and by. By this post, I have written to Mr. 
Hobhouse, addressed to your care. 

" Yours, &c. 

1819. MFE OF LORD BYRON. 139 

" P. S. I have acquiesced in the request and 
representation ; and having done so, it is idle to 
detail my arguments in favour of my own self-love 
and 'Poeshie;' but I protest. If the poem has 
poetry, it would stand ; if not, fall ; the rest is 
* leather and prunello,' and has never yet affected 
any human production * pro or eon.' Dulness is the 
only annihilator in such cases. As to the cant of 
the day, I despise it, as I have ever done all its other 
finical fashions, which become you as paint became 
the ancient Britons. If you admit this prudery, you 
must omit half Ariosto, La Fontaine, Shakspeare, 
Beaumont, Fletcher, Massinger, Ford, all the Charles 
Second writers ; in short, something of most who 
have written before Pope and are worth reading, and 
much of Pope himself. Read him most of you 
dont but do and I will forgive you; though 
the inevitable consequence would be that you would 
burn all I have ever written, and all your other 
wretched Claudians of the day (except Scott and 
Crabbe) into the bargain. I wrong Claudian, who 
was a poet, by naming him with such fellows ; but 
he was the * ultimus Romanorum,' the tail of the 
comet, and these persons are the tail of an old gown 
cut into a waistcoat for Jackey ; but being both tails, 
I have compared the one with the other, though 
very unlike, like all similes. I write in a passion 
and a sirocco, and I was up till six this morning at 
the Carnival : but I protest, as I did in my former 

14-0 NOTICES OF THE 18] 9. 


Venice, February 1. 1819. 

" After one of the concluding stanzas of the first 
Canto of Don Juan,' which ends with (I forget the 

To have 

when the original is dust, 

A book, a d d bad picture, and worse bust, 

insert the following stanza : 

" What are the hopes of man, &c. 

" I have written to you several letters, some with 
additions, and some upon the subject of the poem 
itself, which my cursed puritanical committee have 
protested against publishing. But we will circumvent 
them on that point. I have not yet begun to copy 
out the second Canto, which is finished, from na- 
tural laziness, and the discouragement of the milk 
and water they have thrown upon the first. I say 
all this to them as to you, that is, for you to say to 
them, for I will have nothing underhand. If they 
had told me the poetry was bad, I would have ac- 
quiesced ; but they say the contrary, and then talk 
to me about morality the first time I ever heard 
the word from any body who was not a rascal that 
used it for a purpose. I maintain that it is the most 
moral of poems ; but if people won't discover the 
moral, that is their fault, not mine. I have already 
written to beg that in any case you will print fifty 
for private distribution. I will send you the list of 
persons to whom it is to be sent afterwards. 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 141 

Within this last fortnight I have been rather 
indisposed with a rebellion of stomach, which would 
retain nothing, (liver, I suppose,) and an inability, 
or fantasy, not to be able to eat of any thing with 
relish but a kind of Adriatic fish called < scampi,' 
which happens to be the most indigestible of ma- 
rine viands. However, within these last two days, 
I am better, and very truly yours." 


"Venice, April 6. 1819. 

" The second Canto of Don Juan was sent, on 
Saturday last, by post, in four packets, two of four, 
and two of three sheets each, containing in all two 
hundred and seventeen stanzas, octave measure. 
But I will permit no curtailments, except those 
mentioned about Castlereagh and * * * *. You 
sha'n't make canticles of my cantos. The poem will 
please, if it is lively ; if it is stupid, it will fail : but 
I will have none of your damned cutting and slash- 
ing. If you please, you may publish anonymously; 
it will perhaps be better ; but I will battle my way 
against them all, like a porcupine. 

" So you and Mr. Foscolo, &c. want me to under- 
take what you call a < great work ? ' an Epic Poem, 
I suppose, or some such pyramid. I'll try no 
such thing ; I hate tasks. And then * seven or eight 
years ! ' God send us all well this day three months, 
let alone years. If one's years can't be better em- 
ployed than in sweating poesy, a man had better 
be a ditcher. And works, too ! is Childe Harold 

142 - NOTICES OF THE 1819., 

nothing ? You have so many * divine poems, is it 
nothing to have written a human one ? without any 
of your worn-out machinery. Why, man, I could 
have spun the thoughts of the four Cantos of that 
poem into twenty, had I wanted to book-make, and 
its passion into as many modern tragedies. Since 
you want length, you shall have enough of Juan, for 
I'll make fifty Cantos. 

" And Foscolo, too ! Why does he not do some- 
thing more than the Letters of Ortis, and a tragedy, 
and pamphlets ? He has good fifteen years more at 
his command than I have : what has he done all that 
time ? proved his genius, doubtless, but not fixed 
its fame, nor done his utmost. 

" Besides, I mean to write my best work in Italian, 
and it will take me nine years more thoroughly to 
master the language ; and then if my fancy exist, 
and I exist too, I will try what I can do really. As 
to the estimation of the English which you talk of, 
let them calculate what it is worth, before they insult 
me with their insolent condescension. 

" I have not written for their pleasure. If they 
are pleased, it is that they chose to be so ; I have 
never flattered their opinions, nor their pride ; nor 
will I. Neither will I make ' Ladies' books' * al 
dilettar le femine e la plebe.' I have written from 
the fulness of my mind, from passion, from im- 
pulse, from many motives, but not for their * sweet 

" I know the precise worth of popular applause, 
for few scribblers have had more of it; and if I 
chose to swerve into their paths, I could retain it, 


or resume it. But I neither love ye, nor fear ye ; 
and though I buy with ye and sell with ye, I will 
neither eat with ye, drink with ye, nor pray with 
ye. They made me, without any search, a species 
of popular idol ; they, without reason or judgment, 
beyond the caprice of their good pleasure, threw 
down the image from its pedestal ; it was not broken 
with the fall, and they would, it seems, again replace 
it, but they shall not. 

" You ask about my health : about the beginning 
of the year I was in a state of great exhaustion, 
attended by such debility of stomach that nothing 
remained upon it ; and I was obliged to reform my 
i way of life,' which was conducting me from the 
* yellow leaf to the ground, with all deliberate 
speed. I am better in health and morals, and very 
much yours, &c. 

" P. S. I have read Hodgson's * Friends/ He 
is right in defending Pope against the bastard peli- 
cans of the poetical winter day, who add insult to 
their parricide, by sucking the blood of the parent 
of English real poetry, poetry without fault, 
and then spurning the bosom which fed them." 

It was about the time when the foregoing letter 
was written, and when, as we perceive, like the first 
return of reason after intoxication, a full conscious- 
ness of some of the evils of his late libertine course 
of life had broken upon him, that an attachment 
differing altogether, both in duration and devotion, 
from any of those that, since the dream of his 
boyhood, had inspired him, gained an influence 

144 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

over his mind which lasted through his few re- 
maining years ; and, undeniably wrong and immoral 
(even allowing for the Italian estimate of such 
frailties) as was the nature of the connection to 
which this attachment led, we can hardly perhaps, 
. taking into account the far worse wrong from 
which it rescued and preserved him, consider it 
otherwise than as an event fortunate both for his 
reputation and happiness. 

The fair object of this last, and (with one signal 
exception) only real love of his whole life, was a 
young Romagnese lady, the daughter of Count 
Gamba, of Ravenna, and married, but a short time 
before Lord Byron first met with her, to an old and 
wealthy widower, of the same city, Count Guiccioli. 
Her husband had in early life been the friend of 
Alfieri, and had distinguished himself by his zeal in 
promoting the establishment of a National Theatre, 
in which the talents of Alfieri and his own wealth 
were to be combined. Notwithstanding his age, 
and a character, as it appears, by no means reput- 
able, his great opulence rendered him an object of 
ambition among the mothers of Ravenna, who, 
according to the too frequent maternal practice, 
were seen vying with each other in attracting so 
rich a purchaser for their daughters, and the young 
Teresa Gamba, not yet sixteen, and just emanci- 
pated from a convent, was the selected victim. 

The first time Lord Byron had ever seen this lady 
was in the autumn of 1818, when she made her ap- 
pearance, three days after her marriage, at the house of 
the Countess Albrizzi, in all the gaiety of bridal array, 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 145 

and the first delight of exchanging a convent for the 
world. At this time, however, no acquaintance en- 
sued between them ; it was not till the spring of 
the present year that, at an evening party of 
Madame Benzoni's, they were introduced to each 
other. The love that sprung out of this meeting 
was instantaneous and mutual, though with the 
usual disproportion of sacrifice between the parties ; 
such an event being, to the man, but one of the 
many scenes of life, while, with woman, it generally 
constitutes the whole drama. The young Italian 
found herself suddenly inspired with a passion of 
which, till that moment, her mind could not have 
formed the least idea ; she had thought of love 
but as an amusement, and now became its slave. 
If at the outset, too, less slow to be won than an 
Englishwoman, no sooner did she begin to under- 
stand the full despotism of the passion than her 
heart shrunk from it as something terrible, and she 
would have escaped, but that the chain was already 
around her. 

No words, however, can describe so simply and 
feelingly as her own, the strong impression which 
their first meeting left upon her mind : 

" I became acquainted (says Madame Guiccioli) 
with Lord Byron in the April of 1819 : he was 
introduced to me at Venice, by the Countess Ben- 
zoni, at one of that lady's parties. This introduction, 
which had so much influence over the lives of us 
both, took place contrary to our wishes, and had 
been permitted by us only from courtesy. For 
myself, more fatigued than usual that evening on 


146 NOTICES OF THE 1819- 

account of the late hours they keep at Venice, I 
went with great repugnance to this party, and purely 
in obedience to Count Guiccioli. Lord Byron, too, 
who was averse to forming new acquaintances, 
alleging that he had entirely renounced all attach- 
ments, and was unwilling any more to expose himself 
to their consequences, on being requested by the 
countess Benzoni to allow himself to be presented to 
me, refused, and, at last, only assented from a desire 
to oblige her. 

" His noble and exquisitely beautiful countenance, 
the tone of his voice, his manners, the thousand 
enchantments that surrounded him, rendered him 
so different and so superior a being to any whom I 
had hitherto seen, that it was impossible he should 
not have left the most profound impression upon 
me. From that evening, during the whole of my 
subsequent stay at Venice, we met every day." * 

* " Nell* Aprile del 1819, io feci la conoscenza di Lord 
Byron ; e mi fu presentato a Venezia dalla Contessa Benzoni 
nella di lei societa. Questa presentazione che ebbe tante con- 
sequenze per tutti e due fu fatta contro la volonta d'entrambi, 
e solo per condiscendenza 1'abbiamo permessa. Io stanca piu 
che mai quella sera par le ore tarde che si costuma fare in Ve- 
nezia andai con molta ripugnanza e solo per ubbidire al Conte 
Guiccioli in quella societa. Lord Byron che scansava di fare 
nuove conoscenze, dicendo sempre che aveva interamente rinun- 
ciato alle passioni e che non voleva esporsi piu alle loro conse- 
quenze, quando la Contessa Benzoni la preg6 di volersi far 
presentare a me egli recuso, e solo per la compiacenza glielo 
permise. La nobile e bellissima sua fisonomia, il suono della 
sua voce, le sue maniere, i mille incanti che Io circondavano Io 
rendevano un essere cosi differente, cos} superiore a tutti quelli 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 147 


" Venice, May 15. 1819. 

" I have got your extract, and the * Vampire.' 
I need not say it is not mine. There is a rule to go 
by : you are my publisher (till we quarrel), and 
what is not published by you is not written by me. 

" Next week I set out for Romagna at least, in 
all probability. You had better go on with the 
publications, without waiting to hear farther, for I 
have other things in my head. * Mazeppa ' and 
the ' Ode ' separate? what think you? Juan 
anonymous, without the Dedication ; for I won't be 
shabby, and attack Southey under cloud of night. 

" Yours," &c. 

In another letter on the subject of the Vampire, 
I find the following interesting particulars : 


" The story of Shelley's agitation is true.* I 
can't tell what seized him, for he don't want courage. 

che io aveva sino allora veduti che non potei a meno di non 
provarne la piu profonda impressione. Da quella sera in poi 
in tutti i giorni che mi fermai in Venezia ei siamo sempre ve- 
duti.' MS. 

* This story, as given in the Preface to the " Vampire," is 
as follows : 

" It appears that one evening Lord B., Mr. P. B. Shelley, 
two ladies, and the gentleman before alluded to, after having 
perused a German work called Phantasmagoria, began relating 
ghost stories, when his Lordship having recited the beginning 
of Christabel, then unpublished, the whole took so strong a 
L 2 

148 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

He was once with me in a gale of wind, in a small 
boat, right under the rocks between Meillerie and 
St. Gingo. We were five in the boat a servant, 
two boatmen, and ourselves. The sail was misman- 
aged, and the boat was filling fast. He can't swim. 
I stripped off my coat, made him strip off his, and 
take hold of an oar, telling him that I thought (being 
myself an expert swimmer) I could save him, if he 
would not struggle when I took hold of him un- 
less we got smashed against the rocks, which were 
high and sharp, with an awkward surf on them at that 
minute. We were then about a hundred yards from 
shore, and the boat in peril. He answered me with 
the greatest coolness, * that he had no notion of 
being saved, and that I would have enough to do to 
save myself, and begged not to trouble me.' Luckily, 
the boat righted, and, bailing, we got round a point 
into St. Gingo, where the inhabitants came down 
and embraced the boatmen on their escape, the 
wind having been high enough to tear up some 
huge trees from the Alps above us, as we saw next 

hold of Mr. Shelley's mind, that he suddenly started up, and 
ran out of the room. The physician and Lord Byron followed, 
and discovered him leaning against a mantel-piece, with cold 
drops of perspiration trickling down his face. After having 
given him something to refresh him, upon enquiring into the 
cause of his alarm, they found that his wild imagination having 
pictured to him the bosom of one of the ladies with eyes (which 
was reported of a lady in the neighbourhood where he lived), 
he was obliged to leave the room in order to destroy the im- 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 149 

" And yet the same Shelley, who was as cool as it 
was possible to be in such circumstances, (of which 
I am no judge myself, as the chance of swimming 
naturally gives self-possession when near shore,) 
certainly had the fit of phantasy which Polidori 
describes, though not exactly as he describes it. 

" The story of the agreement to write the ghost- 
books is true ; but the ladies are not sisters. Mary 
Godwin (now Mrs. Shelley) wrote Frankenstein, 
which you have reviewed, thinking it Shelley's. 
Methinks it is a wonderful book for a girl of nine- 
teen, not nineteen, indeed, at that time. J enclose 
you the beginning of mine, by which you will see 
how far it resembles Mr. Colburn's publication. If 
you choose to publish it, you may, stating why, and 
with such explanatory proem as you please. I never 
went on with it, as you will perceive by the date. 
I began it in an old account-book of Miss Mil- 
banke's, which I kept because it contains the word 
' Household,' written by her twice on the inside 
blank page of the covers, being the only two scraps 
I have in the world in her writing, except her name 
to the Deed of Separation. Her letters I sent back 
except those of the quarrelling correspondence, and 
those, being documents, are placed in the hands of 
a third person, with copies of several of my own ; 
so that I have no kind of memorial whatever of 
her, but these two words, and her actions. I have 
torn the leaves containing the part of the Tale out 
of the book, and enclose them with this sheet. 

" What do you mean ? First you seem hurt by 
my letter, and then, in your next, you talk of its 
L 3 

150 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

< power,' and so forth. < This is a d d blind story, 
Jack ; but never mind, go on.' You may be sure I 
said nothing on purpose to plague you ; but if you 
will put me ' in a frenzy, I will never call you Jack 
again.' I remember nothing of the epistle at pre- 

" What do you mean by Polidori's Diary ? Why, 
I defy him to say any thing about me, but he is 
welcome. I have nothing to reproach me with on 
his score, and I am much mistaken if that is not 
his own opinion. But why publish the names of 
the two girls ? and in such a manner ? what a 
blundering piece of exculpation ! He asked Pictet, 
&c. to dinner, and of course was left to entertain 
them. I went into society solely to present Mm (as 
I told him), that he might return into good company 
if he chose ; it was the best thing for his youth and 
circumstances : for myself, I had done with society, 
and, having presented him, withdrew to my own 
* way of life.' It is true that I returned without 
entering Lady Dalrymple Hamilton's, because I saw 
it full. It is true that Mrs. Hervey (she writes 
novels) fainted at my entrance into Coppet, and 
then came back again. On her fainting, the Duchess 
de Broglie exclaimed, * This is too much at sixty- 
Jive years of age ! ' I never gave * the English ' an 
opportunity of avoiding me ; but I trust that, if ever 
I do, they will seize it. With regard to Mazeppa 
and the Ode, you may join or separate them, as you 
please, from the two Cantos. 

"Don't suppose I want to put you out of humour. 
I have a great respect for your good and gentlemanly 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 151 

qualities, and return your personal friendship to- 
wards me ; and although I think you a little spoilt 
by * villanous company,' wits, persons of honour 
about town, authors, and fashionables, together with 
your ' I am just going to call at Carlton House, are 
you walking that way ? ' I say, notwithstanding 
* pictures, taste, Shakspeare, and the musical glasses,' 
you deserve and possess the esteem of those whose 
esteem is worth having, and of none more (however 
useless it may be) than yours very truly, &c. 

" P. S. Make my respects to Mr. Gilford. I am 
perfectly aware that ' Don Juan' must set us all by 
the ears, but that is my concern, and my beginning. 
There will be the * Edinburgh,' and all, too, against 
it, so that, like * Rob Roy,' I shall have my hands 


Venice, May 25. 1819. 

" I have received no proofs by the last post, and 
shall probably have quitted Venice before the arrival 
of the next. There wanted a few stanzas to the 
termination of Canto first in the last proof; the 
next will, I presume, contain them, and the whole 
or a portion of Canto second ; but it will be idle to 
wait for further answers from me, as I have directed 
that my letters wait for my return (perhaps in a 
month, and probably so) ; therefore do not wait for 
further advice from me. You may as well talk to 
the wind, and better for it will at least convey 
your accents a little further than they would other- 
L 4 

152 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

wise have gone ; whereas /shall neither echo nor ac- 
quiesce in your ' exquisite reasons.' You may omit 
the note of reference to Hobhouse's travels, in Canto 
second, and you will put as motto to the whole 

* Difficile est proprie communia dicere.' HORACE. 

" A few days ago I sent you all I know of 
Polidori's Vampire. He may do, say, or write, 
what he pleases, but I wish he would not attribute 
to me his own compositions. If he has any thing of 
mine in his possession, the MS. will put it beyond 
controversy ; but I scarcely think that any one who 
knows me would believe the thing in the Maga- 
zine to be mine, even if they saw it in my own 

" I write to you in the agonies of a sirocco^ which 
annihilates me ; and I have been fool enough to do 
four things since dinner, which are as well omitted 
in very hot weather: Istly, * * * *; 2dly, to 
play at billiards from 10 to 12, under the influence 
of lighted lamps, that doubled the heat ; 3dly, to go 
afterwards into a red-hot conversazione of the 
Countess Benzoni's ; and, 4thly, to begin this letter 
at three in the morning : but being begun, it must 
be finished. 

" Ever very truly and affectionately yours, 


" P. S. I petition for tooth-brushes, powder, mag- 
nesia, Macassar oil (or Russia), the sashes, and Sir 
Nl. Wraxall's Memoirs of his own Times. I want, 
besides, a bull-dog, a terrier, and two Newfoundland 
dogs ; and I want (is it Buck's ?) a life of Richard 2d, 



advertised by Longman long, long, long ago ; I asked 
for it at least three years since. See Longman's 

About the middle of April, Madame Guiccioli had 
been obliged to quit Venice with her husband. Hav- 
ing several houses on the road from Venice to Ra- 
venna, it was his habit to stop at these mansions, one 
after the other, in his journeys between the two 
cities; and from all these places the enamoured 
young Countess now wrote to Lord Byron, express- 
ing, in the most passionate and pathetic terms, her 
despair at leaving him. So utterly, indeed, did this 
feeling overpower her, that three times, in the course 
of her first day's journey, she was seized with fainting 
fits. In one of her letters, which I saw when at 
Venice, dated, if I recollect right, from " Ca Zen, 
Cavanelle di Po," she tells him that the solitude of 
this place, which she had before found irksome, was, 
now that one sole idea occupied her mind, become 
dear and welcome to her, and promises that, as soon 
as she arrives at Ravenna, " she will, according to 
his wish, avoid all general society, and devote her- 
self to reading, music, domestic occupations, riding 
on horseback, every thing, in short, that she knew 
he would most like." What a change for a young 
and simple girl, who, but a few weeks before, had 
thought only of society and the world, but who now 
saw no other happiness but in the hope of making 
herself worthy, by seclusion and self-instruction, of 
the illustrious object of her devotion ! 

On leaving this place, she was attacked with a 

154" NOTICES OF THE 1819 

dangerous illness on the road, and arrived half dead 
at Ravenna ; nor was it found possible to revive or 
comfort her till an assurance was received from Lord 
Byron, expressed with all the fervour of real passion, 
that, in the course of the ensuing month, he would 
pay her a visit. Symptoms of consumption, brought 
on by her state of mind, had already shown them- 
selves ; and, in addition to the pain which this se- 
paration had caused her, she was also suffering much 
grief from the loss of her mother, who, at this time, 
died in giving birth to her fourteenth child. Towards 
the latter end of May she wrote to acquaint Lord 
Byron that, having prepared all her relatives and 
friends to expect him, he might now, she thought, 
venture to make his appearance at Ravenna. Though, 
on the lady's account, hesitating as to the prudence 
of such a step, he, in obedience to her wishes, on 
the 2d of June, set out from La Mira (at which place 
he had again taken a villa for the summer), and 
proceeded towards Romagna. 

From Padua he addressed a letter to Mr. Hoppner, 
chiefly occupied with matters of household concern 
which that gentleman had undertaken to manage for 
him at Venice, but, on the immediate object of his 
journey, expressing himself in a tone so light and 
jesting, as it would be difficult for those not versed 
in his character to conceive that he could ever bring 
himself, while under the influence of a passion so 
sincere, to assume. But such is ever the wanton- 
ness of the mocking spirit, from which nothing, 
not even love, remains sacred ; and which, at last, 
for want of other food, turns upon himself. The 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 155 

same horror, too, of hypocrisy that led Lord Byron 
to exaggerate his own errors, led him also to dis- 
guise, under a seemingly heartless ridicule, all those 
natural and kindly qualities by which they were 

This letter from Padua concludes thus : 

" A journey in an Italian June is a conscription ; 
and if 1 was not the most constant of men, I should 
now be swimming from the Lido, instead of smoking 
in the dust of Padua. Should there be letters from 
England, let them wait my return. And do look at 
my house and (not lands, but) waters, and scold ; 
and deal out the monies to Edgecombe* with an air 
of reluctance and a shake of the head and put 
queer questions to him and turn up your nose 
when he answers. 

" Make my respect to the Consules and to the 
Chevalier and to Scotin and to all the counts 
and countesses of our acquaintance. 
" And believe me ever 

" Your disconsolate and affectionate," &c. 

As a contrast to the strange levity of this letter, 
as well as in justice to the real earnestness of the 
passion, however censurable in all other respects, 
that now engrossed him, I shall here transcribe some 
stanzas which he wrote in the course of this journey 
to Romagna, and which, though already published, are 
not comprised in the regular collection of his works. 

* A clerk of the English Consulate, whom he at this time 
employed to control his accounts 

156 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

" River*, that rollcst by the ancient walls, 

Where dwells the lady of my love, when she 
Walks by thy brink, and there perchance recalls 
A faint and fleeting memory of me ; 

" What if thy deep and ample stream should be 
A mirror of my heart, where she may read 
The thousand thoughts I now betray to thee, 
Wild as thy wave, and headlong as thy speed ! 

" What do I say a mirror of my heart ? 

Are not thy waters sweeping, dark, and strong ? 
Such as my feelings were and are, thou art ; 
And such as thou art were my passions long. 

" Time may have somewhat tamed them, not for ever; 

Thou overflow'st thy banks, and not for aye 
Thy bosom overboils, congenial river ! 

Thy floods subside, and mine have sunk away, 

" But left long wrecks behind, and now again, 

Borne in our old unchanged career, we move ; 
Thou tendest wildly onwards to the main, 
And I to loving one I should not love. 

" The current I behold will sweep beneath 

Her native walls and murmur at her feet ; 
Her eyes will look on thee, when she shall breathe 
The twilight air, unharm'd by summer's heat. 

" She will look on thee, I have look'd on thee, 

Full of that thought ; and, from that moment, ne'er 
Thy waters could I dream of, name, or see, 
Without the inseparable sigh for her ! 

* The Po. 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 157 

" Her bright eyes will be imaged in thy stream, 
Yes ! they will meet the wave I gaze on now : 
Mine cannot witness, even in a dream, 
That happy wave repass me in its flow ! 

" The wave that bears my tears returns no more : 

Will she return by whom that wave shall sweep? 
Both tread thy banks, both wander on thy shore, 
I by thy source, she by the dark-blue deep. 

"But that which keepeth us apart is not 

Distance, nor depth of wave, nor space of earth. 
But the distraction of a various lot, 
As various as the climates of our birth. 

" A stranger loves the lady of the land, 

Born far beyond the mountains, but his blood 
Is all meridian, as if never fann'd 

By the black wind that chills the polar flood. 

" My blood is all meridian ; were it not, 

I had not left my clime, nor should I be, 
In spite of tortures, ne'er to be forgot, 
A slave again of love, at least of thee. 

" 'Tis vain to struggle let me perish young 

Live as I lived, and love as I have loved ; 
To dust if I return, from dust I sprung, 

And then, at least, my heart can ne'er be moved." 

On arriving at Bologna and receiving no further 
intelligence from the Contessa, he began to be of 
opinion, as we shall perceive in the annexed interest- 
ing letters, that he should act most prudently, for all 
parties, by returning to Venice. 

158 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 


" Bologna, June 6. 1819. 

" I am at length joined to Bologna, where I am 
settled like a sausage, and shall be broiled like one, 
if this weather continues. Will you thank Mengaldo 
on my part for the Ferrara acquaintance, which was 
a very agreeable one. I stayed two days at Ferrara, 
and was much pleased with the Count Mosti, and 
the little the shortness of the time permitted me to 
see of his family. I went to his conversazione, 
which is very far superior to any thing of the kind 
at Venice the women almost all young several 
pretty and the men courteous and cleanly. The 
lady of the mansion, who is young, lately married, 
and with child, appeared very pretty by candlelight 
(I did not see her by day), pleasing in her manners, 
and very lady-like, or thorough-bred, as we call it in 
England, a kind of thing which reminds one of a 
racer, an antelope, or an Italian greyhound. She 
seems very fond of her husband, who is amiable and 
accomplished ; he has been in England two or three 
times, and is young. The sister, a Countess some- 
body I forget what (they are both Maffei by 
birth, and Veronese of course) is a lady of more 
display ; she sings and plays divinely ; but I thought 
she was a d d long time about it. Her likeness 
to Madame Flahaut (Miss Mercer that was) is 
something quite extraordinary. 

" I had but a bird's eye view of these people, and 
shall not probably see them again ; but I am very 
much obliged to Mengaldo for letting me see them 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 159 

at all. Whenever I meet with any thing agreeable 
in this world, it surprises me so much, and pleases 
me so much (when my passions are not interested 
one way or the other), that I go on wondering for a 
week to come. I feel, too, in great admiration of 
the Cardinal Legate's red stockings. 

" I found, too, such a pretty epitaph in the 
Certosa cemetery, or rather two : one was 

' Martini Luigi 
Implora pace ;' 

the other, 

* Lucrezia Picini 

Implora eterna quiete.' 

That was all ; but it appears to me that these two 
and three words comprise and compress all that can 
be said on the subject, and then, in Italian, they 
are absolute music. They contain doubt, hope, and 
humility; nothing can be more pathetic than the 
* implora' and the modesty of the request; they 
have had enough of life they want nothing but rest 
they implore it, and ' eterna quiete.' It is like a 
Greek inscription in some good old heathen ' City 
of the Dead.' Pray, if I am shovelled into the Lido 
churchyard in your time, let me have the ' implora 
pace,' and nothing else, for my epitaph. I never 
met with any, ancient or modern, that pleased me a 
tenth part so much. 

" In about a day or two after you receive this 
letter, I will thank you to desire Edgecombe to 
prepare for my return. I shall go back to Venice 
before I village on the Brenta. I shall stay but a 

160 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

few days in Bologna. I am just going out to see sights, 
but shall not present my introductory letters for a 
day or two, till I have run over again the place and 
pictures ; nor perhaps at all, if I find that I have 
books and sights enough to do without the inha- 
bitants. After that, I shall return to Venice, where 
you may expect me about the eleventh, or perhaps 
sooner. Pray make my thanks acceptable to Men- 
galdo: my respects to the Consuless, and to Mr. 
Scott. I hope my daughter is well. 

" Ever yours, and truly. 

P. S. I went over the Ariosto MS. &c. &c. 
again at Ferrara, with the castle, and cell, and 
house, &c. &c. 

" One of the Ferrarese asked me if I knew ' Lord 
Byron,' an acquaintance of his, now at Naples. I 
told him * No!' which was true both ways; for I 
knew not the impostor, and in the other, no one 
knows himself. He stared when told that I was 
' the real Simon Pure.' Another asked me if I had 
not translated Tasso.' You see what fame is ! 
how accurate! how boundless! I don't know how 
others feel, but I am always the lighter and the 
better looked on when I have got rid of mine ; it 
sits on me like armour on the Lord Mayor's cham- 
pion ; and I got rid of all the husk of literature, and 
the attendant babble, by answering, that I had not 
translated Tasso, but a namesake had ; and by the 
blessing of Heaven, I looked so little like a poet, that 
every body believed me." 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 161 


" Bologna, June 7. 1819. 

" Tell Mr. Hobhouse that I wrote to him a few 
days ago from Ferrara. It will therefore be idle in 
him or you to wait for any further answers or returns 
of proofs from Venice, as I have directed that no 
English letters be sent after me. The publication 
can be proceeded in without, and I am already sick 
of your remarks, to which I think not the least 
attention ought to be paid. 

" Tell Mr. Hobhouse that, since I wrote to him, 
I had availed myself of my Ferrara letters, and 
found the society much younger and better there 
than at Venice. I am very much pleased with the 
little the shortness of my stay permitted me to see 
of the Gonfaloniere Count Mosti, and his family and 
friends in general. 

" I have been picture-gazing this morning at the 
famous Domenichino and Guido, both of which are 
superlative. 1 afterwards went to the beautiful 
cemetery of Bologna, beyond the walls, and found, 
besides the superb burial-ground, an original of a 
Custode, who reminded one of the grave-digger in 
Hamlet. He has a collection of capuchins' skulls, 
labelled on the forehead, and taking down one of 
them, said, * This was Brother Desiderio Berro, who 
died at forty one of my best friends. I begged 
his head of his brethren after his decease, and they 
gave it me. I put it in lime, and then boiled it. Here 
it is, teeth and all, in excellent preservation. He was 
the merriest, cleverest fellow I ever knew. Wherever 


162 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

he went, be brought joy ; and whenever any one was 
melancholy, the sight of him was enough to make 
him cheerful again. He walked so actively, you 
might have taken him for a dancer he joked he 
laughed oh ! he was such a Frate as I never saw 
before, nor ever shall again ! ' 

" He told me that he had himself planted all the 
cypresses in the cemetery ; that he had the greatest 
attachment to them and to his dead people; that 
since 1801 they had buried fifty-three thousand 
persons. In showing some older monuments, there 
was that of a Roman girl of twenty, with a bust by 
Bernini. She was a princess Bartorini, dead two 
centuries ago : he said that, on opening her grave, 
they had found her hair complete, and { as yellow as 
gold.' Some of the epitaphs at Ferrara pleased me 
more than the more splendid monuments at Bologna; 
for instance: 

" Martini Luigi 
Jmplora pace ; 

" Lucrezia Picini 

Implora eterna quiete. 

Can any thing be more full of pathos ? Those few 
words say all that can be said or sought : the dead 
had had enough of life ; all they wanted was rest, 
and this they implore ! There is all the helplessness, 
and humble hope, and deathlike prayer, that can 
arise from the grave < implora pace.'* I hope, 

* Though Lord Byron, like most other persons, in writ- 
ing to different friends, was sometimes led to repeat the same 
circumstances and thoughts, there is, from the ever ready 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 163 

whoever may survive me, and shall see me put in 
the foreigners' burying-ground at the Lido, within 
the fortress by the Adriatic, will see those two 
words, and no more, put over me. I trust they 
won't think of * pickling, and bringing me home to 
Clod or Blunderbuss Hall.' I am sure my bones 
would not rest in an English grave, or my clay mix 
with the earth of that country. I believe the 
thought would drive me mad on my deathbed, 
could I suppose that any of my friends would be base 
enough to convey my carcass back to your soil. I 
would not even feed your worms, if I could help it. 

" So, as Shakspeare says of Mowbray, the banished 
Duke of Norfolk, who died at Venice (see Richard II.) 
that he, after fighting 

" ' Against black Pagans, Turks, and Saracens, 
And toiled with works of war, retired himself 
To Italy, and there, at Venice, gave 
His body to that pleasant country's earth, 
And his pure soul unto his captain, Christ, 
Under whose colours he had fought so long.' 

" Before I left Venice, I had returned to you your 
late, and Mr. Hobhouse's sheets of Juan. Don't wait 
for further answers from me, but address yours to 

fertility of his mind, much less of such repetition in his cor- 
respondence than in that, perhaps, of any other multifarious 
letter-writer ; and, in the instance before us, where the same 
facts and reflections are, for the second time, introduced, it is 
with such new touches, both of thought and expression, as 
render them, even a second time, interesting ; what is want- 
ing in the novelty of the matter being made up by the neAv 
aspect given to it. 

M 2 

164- NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

Venice, as usual. I know nothing of my own move- 
ments ; I may return there in a few days, or not for 
some time. All this depends on circumstances. 1 
left Mr. Hoppner very well. My daughter Allegra 
was well too, and is growing pretty ; her hair is 
growing darker, and her eyes are blue. Her tem- 
per and her ways, Mr. Hoppner says, are like mine, 
as well as her features : she will make, in that case, 
a manageable young lady. 

" I have never heard any thing of Ada, the little 
Electra of Mycenae. But there will come a day of 
reckoning, even if I should not live to see it.* What 
a long letter I have scribbled ! Yours, &c. 

" P. S. Here, as in Greece, they strew flowers on 
the tombs. I saw a quantity of rose-leaves, and 
entire roses, scattered over the graves at Ferrara. 
It has the most pleasing effect you can imagine." 

While he was thus lingering irresolute at Bo- 

* There were, in the former edition, both here and in a 
subsequent letter, some passages reflecting upon the late Sir 
Samuel Romilly, which, in my anxiety to lay open the work- 
ings of Lord Byron's mind upon a subject in which so much 
of his happiness and character were involved, I had been in- 
duced to retain, though aware of the erroneous impression 
under which they were written ; the evident morbidness of 
the feeling that dictated the attack, and the high, stainless 
reputation of the person assailed, being sufficient, I thought, 
to neutralise any ill effects such reflections might otherwise 
have produced. As I find it, however, to be the opinion of 
all those whose opinions I most respect, that, even with these 
antidotes, such an attack upon such a man ought not to be 
left on record, I willingly expunge all trace of it from these 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 165 

logna, the Countess Guiccioli had been attacked 
with an intermittent fever, the violence of which, 
combining with the absence of a confidential person 
to whom she had been in the habit of intrusting her 
letters, prevented her from communicating with 
him. At length, anxious to spare him the disap- 
pointment of finding her so ill on his arrival, she 
had begun a letter, requesting that he would remain 
at Bologna till the visit to which she looked forward 
should bring her there also ; and was in the act of 
writing, when a friend came in to announce the 
arrival of an English lord in Ravenna. She could 
not doubt for an instant that it was her noble friend; 
and he had, in fact, notwithstanding his declaration 
to Mr. Hoppner that it was his intention to return 
to Venice immediately, wholly altered this resolution 
before the letter announcing it was despatched, 
the following words being written on the outside 
cover : " I am just setting off for Ravenna, June 8. 
1819. I changed my mind this morning, and de- 
cided to go on." 

The reader, however, shall have Madame Guic- 
cioli's own account of these events, which, fortu- 
nately for the interest of my narration, I am enabled 
to communicate. 

" On my departure from Venice, he had promised 
to come and see me at Ravenna. Dante's tomb, the 
classical pine wood*, the relics of antiquity which 

* " Tal qual di ramo in ramo si raccoglie 
Per la pineta in sul lito di Chiassi, 
Quando Eolo Scirocco fuor discioglie." 
M 3 

166 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

are to be found in that place, afforded a sufficient 
pretext for me to invite him to come, and for him to 
accept my invitation. He came, in fact, in the 
month of June, arriving at Ravenna on the day of 
the festival of the Corpus Domini ; while I, attacked 
by a consumptive complaint, which had its origin 
from the moment of my quitting Venice, appeared 
on the point of death. The arrival of a distinguished 
foreigner at Ravenna, a town so remote from the 
routes ordinarily followed by travellers, was an event 
which gave rise to a good deal of conversation. His 
motives for such a visit became the subject of dis- 
cussion, and these he himself afterwards involun- 
tarily divulged; for having made some enquiries 
with a view to paying me a visit, and being told 
that it was unlikely that he would ever see me again, 
as I was at the point of death, he replied, if such 
were the case, he hoped that he should die also ; 
which circumstance, being repeated, revealed the 
object of his journey. Count Guiccioli, having been 
acquainted with Lord Byron at Venice, went to 
visit him now, and in the hope that his presence 
might amuse, and be of some use to me in the state 
in which I then found myself, invited him to call 
upon me. He came the day following. It is im- 
possible to describe the anxiety he showed, the 
delicate attentions that he paid me. For a long time 
he had perpetually medical books in his hands ; and 

Dante himself (says Mr. Carey, in one of the notes on his 
admirable translation of this poet) " perhaps wandered in this 
wood during his abode with Guido Novello da Polenta." 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 167 

not trusting my physicians, he obtained permission 
from Count Guiccioli to send for a very clever phy- 
sician, a friend of his, in whom he placed great con- 
fidence. The attentions of Professor Aglietti (for 
so this celebrated Italian was called), together with 
tranquillity, and the inexpressible happiness which 
I experienced in Lord Byron's society, had so good 
an effect on my health, that only two months after- 
wards I was able to accompany my husband in a 
tour he was obliged to make to visit his various 
estates." * 

* " Partendo io da Venezia egli promise di venir a vedermi 
a Ravenna. La Tomba di Dante, il classico bosco di pini, 
gli avvanzi di antichita che a Ravenna si trovano davano a me 
ragioni plausibili per invitarlo a venire, ed a lui per accettare 
1'invito. Egli venne difatti nel mese Guigno, e giunse a Ra- 
venna nel giorno della Solennita del Corpus Domini, mentre 
io attaccata da una malattia de consunzione ch' ebbe principio 
dalla mia partenza da Venezia ero vicina a morire. Li'arrivo 
in Ravenna d'un forestiero distinto, in un paese cosl lontano 
dalle strade che ordinariamente tengono i viaggiatori era un 
avvenimento del quale molto si parlava, indagandosene i mo- 
tivi, che involontariamente poi egli feci conoscere. Perche 
avendo egli domandato di me per venire a vedermi ed essen- 
dogli risposto ' che non potrebbe vedermi piu perche ero vicina 
a morire ' egli rispose che in quel caso voleva morire egli 
pure ; la qual cosa essendosi poi ripetata si conobbe cosi 1'og- 
getto del suo viaggio. 

" II Conte Guiccioli visito Lord Byron, essendolo conosciuto 
in Venezia, e nella speranza che la di lui compagnia potesse 
distrarmi ed essermi di qual che giovamento nello stato in cui 
mi trovavo egli Io invito di venire a visitarmi. II giorno ap- 
presso egli venne. Non si potrebbero descrivere le cure, i 
pensieri delicati, quanto egli fece per me. Per molto tempo 
M 4 

168 NOTICES OF THE 1819 


" Ravenna, June 20. 1819. 

" I wrote to you from Padua, and from Bologna, 
and since from Ravenna. I find my situation very 
agreeable, but want my horses very much, there 
being good riding in the environs. I can fix no time 
for my return to Venice it may be soon or late 
or not at all it all depends on the Donna, whom I 
found very seriously in bed with a cough and spitting 
of blood, &c. all of which has subsided. I found all 
the people here firmly persuaded that she would 
never recover ; they were mistaken, however. 

" My letters were useful as far as I employed 
them ; and I like both the place and people, though 
I don't trouble the latter more than I can help 
She manages very well but if I come away with a 
stiletto in my gizzard some fine afternoon, I shall not 
be astonished. I can't make him out at all he visits 
me frequently, and takes me out (like Whittington, 
the Lord Mayor) in a coach arid six horses. The 
fact appears to be, that he is completely governed 

egli non ebbe per le inani che del Libri di Medicina ; e poco 
confidandosi nel miei medici ottenne dal Conte Guiccioli il 
permesso di far venire un valente medico di lui amico nel 
quale egli aveva molta confidenza. Le cure del Professore 
Aglietti (cosi si chiama questo distinto Italiano) la tranquillita, 
anzi la felicita inesprimibile che mi cagionava la presenza di 
Lord Byron migliorarono cosl rapidamente la mia salute che 
entro lo spazio di due mesi potei seguire mio marito in un giro 
che egli doveva fare per le sue terre." MS* 

1819. LIFE, OF LORD BYRON. 169 

by her for that matter, so am I.* The people 
here don't know what to make of us, as he had the 
character of jealousy with all his wives this is the 
third. He is the richest of the Ravennese, by their 
own account, but is not popular among them. Now 
do, pray, send off Augustine, and carriage and cattle, 
to Bologna, without fail or delay, or I shall lose my 
remaining shred of senses. Don't forget this. My 
coming, going, and every thing, depend upon HER 
entirely, just as Mrs. Hoppner (to whom I remit my 
reverences) said in the true spirit of female pro- 

" You are but a shabby fellow not to have written 
before. And I am truly yours," &c. 


" Ravenna, June 29. 1819. 

" The letters have been forwarded from Venice, 
but I trust that you will not have waited for further 
alterations I will make none. 

* That this task of " governing" him was one of more ease 
than, from the ordinary view of his character, might be con- 
cluded, I have more than once, in these pages, expressed my 
opinion, arid shall here quote, in corroboration of it, the remark 
of his own servant (founded on an observation of more than 
twenty years), in speaking of his master's matrimonial fate : 
" It is very odd, but I never yet knew a lady that could not 
manage my Lord, except my Lady." 

" More knowledge," says Johnson, " may be gained of a 
man's real character by a short conversation with one of his 
servants than from the most formal and studied narrative." 

170 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

" I have no time to return you the proofs pub- 
lish without them. I am glad you think the poesy 
good ; and as to < thinking of the effect,' think you 
of the sale, and leave me to pluck the porcupines 
who may point their quills at you. 

" I have been here (at Ravenna) these four weeks, 
having left Venice a month ago ; I came to see my 
( Arnica,' the Countess Guiccioli, who has been, and 
still continues, very unwell. * * She is only 
in her seventeenth, but not of a strong constitution. 
She has a perpetual cough and an intermittent fever, 
but bears up most gallantly in every sense of the 
word. Her husband (this is his third wife) is the 
richest noble of Ravenna, and almost of Romagna ; 
he is also not the youngest, being upwards of three- 
score, but in good preservation. All this will appear 
strange to you, who do not understand the meridian 
morality, nor our way of life in such respects, and I 
cannot at present expound the difference ; but you 
would find it much the same in these parts. At 
Faenza there is Lord * * * * with an opera girl; and 
at the inn in the same town is a Neapolitan Prince, 
who serves the wife of the Gonfaloniere of that city. 
I am on duty here so you see < Cosl fan tutti e 

" I have my horses here, saddle as well as carriage, 
and ride or drive every day in the forest, the Pineta, 
the scene of Boccaccio's novel, and Dryden's fable of 
Honoria, c. &c. ; and I see my Dama every day ; 
but I feel seriously uneasy about her health, which 
seems very precarious. In losing her, I should lose 
a being who has run great risks on my account, and 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 171 

whom I have every reason to love but I must not 
think this possible. I do not know what 1 should do 
if she died, but I ought to blow my brains out and 
I hope that I should. Her husband is a very polite 
personage, but I wish he would not carry me out in 
his coach and six, like Whittington and his cat. 

" You ask me if I mean to continue D. J. &c. 
How should I know ? What encouragement do you 
give me, all of you, with your nonsensical prudery ? 
publish the two Cantos, and then you will see. I 
desired Mr. Kinnaird to speak to you on a little 
matter of business ; either he has not spoken, or you 
have not answered. You are a pretty pair, but I will 
be even with you both. I perceive that Mr. Hob- 
house has been challenged by Major Cartwright 
Is the Major * so cunning offence ?' why did not 
they fight ? they ought. 

" Yours," &c. 


" Ravenna, July 2. 1819. 

" Thanks for your letter and for Madame's. I 
will answer it directly. Will you recollect whether 
I did not consign to you one or two receipts of 
Madame Mocenigo's for house-rent (I am not 
sure of this, but think I did if not, they will be in 
my drawers) and will you desire Mr. Dorville * to 
have the goodness to see if Edgecombe has receipts 
to all payments hitherto made by him on my account, 

* The Vice- Consul of Mr. Hoppner. 

172 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

and that there are no debts at Venice ? On your 
answer, I shall send order of further remittance to 
carry on my household expenses, as my present re- 
turn to Venice is very problematical ; and it may 
happen but I can say nothing positive every 
thing with me being indecisive and undecided, ex- 
cept the disgust which Venice excites when fairly 
compared with any other city in this part of Italy. 
When I say Venice, I mean the Venetians the 
city itself is superb as its history but the people 
are what I never thought them till they taught me 
to think so. 

" The best way will be to leave Allegra with 
Antonio's spouse till I can decide something about 
her and myself but I thought that you would have 

had an answer from Mrs. V r.* You have had 

bore enough with me and mine already. 

" I greatly fear that the Guiccioli is going into a 
consumption, to which her constitution tends. Thus 
it is with every thing and every body for whom I feel 
any thing like a real attachment ; ' War, death, or 

* An English widow lady, of considerable property in the 
north of England, who, having seen the little Allegra at 
Mr. Hoppner's, took an interest in the poor child's fate, and 
having no family of her own, offered to adopt and provide for 
this little girl, if Lord Byron would consent to renounce all 
claim to her. At first he seemed not disinclined to enter into 
her views so far, at least, as giving permission that she 
should take the child with her to England and educate it ; 
but the entire surrender of his paternal authority he would by 
no means consent to. The proposed arrangement accord- 
ingly was never carried into effect. 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 173 

discord, doth lay siege to them.' I never even 
could keep alive a dog that I liked or that liked me. 
Her symptoms are obstinate cough of the lungs, and 
occasional fever, &c. &c. and there are latent causes 
of an eruption in the skin, which she foolishly re- 
pelled into the system two years ago : but I have 
made them send her case to Aglietti ; and have 
begged him to come if only for a day or two to 
consult upon her state. 

" If it would not bore Mr. Dorville, I wish he 

would keep an eye on E and on my other 

ragamuffins. I might have more to say, but I am ab- 
sorbed about La Gui. and her illness. I cannot tell 
you the effect it has upon me. 

" The horses came, &c. &c. and I have been gal- 
loping through the pine forest daily. 

" Believe me, &c. 

" P. S. My benediction on Mrs. Hoppner, a plea- 
sant journey among the Bernese tyrants, and safe 
return. You ought to bring back a Platonic Bernese 
for my reformation. If any thing happens to my 
present Arnica, I have done with the passion for 
ever it is my last love. As to libertinism, I have 
sickened myself of that, as was natural in the way I 
went on, and I have at least derived that advantage 
from vice, to love in the better sense of the word. 
This will be my last adventure I can hope no 
more to inspire attachment, and I trust never again 
to feel it." 

The impression which, I think, cannot but be 
entertained, from some passages of these letters, of 

174? NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

the real fervour and sincerity of his attachment to 
Madame Guiccioli *, would be still further confirmed 
by the perusal of his letters to that lady herself, both 
from Venice and during his present stay at Ravenna 
all bearing, throughout, the true marks both of 
affection and passion. Such effusions, however, are 
but little suited to the general eye. It is the ten- 
dency of all strong feeling, from dwelling constantly 
on the same idea, to be monotonous ; and those often- 
repeated vows and verbal endearments, which make 
the charm of true love-letters to the parties con- 
cerned in them, must for ever render even the best 
of them cloying to others. Those of Lord Byron to 
Madame Guiccioli, which are for the most part in 
Italian, and written with a degree of ease and cor- 

* " During my illness," says Madame Guiccioli, in her 
recollections of this period, " he was for ever near me, paying 
me the most amiable attentions, and when I became con- 
valescent he was constantly at my side. In society, at the 
theatre, riding, walking, he never was absent from me. Being 
deprived at that time of his books, his horses, and all that 
occupied him at Venice, I begged him to gratify me by writing 
something on the subject of Dante, and, with his usual facility 
and rapidity, he composed his ' Prophecy.'" " Durante la 
mia malattia L. B. era sempre presso di me, prestandomi le 
piu sensibili cure, e quando passai allo stato di convalescenza 
egli era sempre al mio fianco ; e in societa, e al teatro, e 
cavalcando, e passeggiando egli non si allontanava mai da me. 
In queP epoca essendo egli privo de' suoi libri, e de' suoi 
cavalli, e di tuttocio che lo occupava in Venezia io lo pregai di 
volersi occupare per me scrivendo qualche cosa sul Dante ; 
ed egli colla usata sua facilita e rapidita scrisse la sua Pro- 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYROX. 175 

rectness attained rarely by foreigners, refer chiefly 
to the difficulties thrown in the way of their meet- 
ings, not so much by the husband himself, who 
appears to have liked and courted Lord Byron's 
society, as by the watchfulness of other relatives, 
and the apprehension felt by themselves lest their 
intimacy should give uneasiness to the father of 
the lady, Count Gamba, a gentleman to whose 
good nature and amiableness of character all who 
know him bear testimony. 

In the near approaching departure of the young 
Countess for Bologna, Lord Byron foresaw a risk ot 
their being again separated; and under the impa- 
tience of this prospect, though through the whole 
of his preceding letters the fear of committing her 
by any imprudence seems to have been his ruling 
thought, he now, with that wilfulness of the moment 
which has so often sealed the destiny of years, pro- 
posed that she should, at once, abandon her husband 
and fly with him : "c'e uno solo rimedio efficace," 
he says, " cioe d' andar via insieme." To an Ita- 
lian wife, almost every thing but this is permissible. 
The same system which so indulgently allows her a 
friend, as one of the regular appendages of her ma- 
trimonial establishment, takes care also to guard 
against all unseemly consequences of this privilege ; 
and in return for such convenient facilities of wrong 
exacts rigidly an observance of all the appearances 
of right. Accordingly, the open step of deserting 
the husband for the lover instead of being considered, 
as in England, but a sign and sequel of transgression, 
takes rank, in Italian morality, as the main transgres- 

176 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

sion itself; and being an offence, too, rendered 
wholly unnecessary by the latitude otherwise en- 
joyed, becomes, from its rare occurrence, no less 
monstrous than odious. 

The proposition, therefore, of her noble friend 
seemed to the young Contessa little less than sacri- 
lege, and the agitation of her mind, between the 
horrors of such a step, and her eager readiness to 
give up all and every thing for him she adored, was 
depicted most strongly in her answer to the proposal. 
In a subsequent letter, too, the romantic girl even 
proposed, as a means of escaping the ignominy of an 
elopement, that she should, like another Juliet, " pass 
for dead," assuring him that there were many 
easy ways of effecting such a deception. 


" Ravenna, August 1. 1819. 
[Address your Answer to Venice, however.] 

" Don't be alarmed. You will see me defend 
myself gaily that is, if I happen to be in spirits; 
and by spirits, I don't mean your meaning of the 
word, but the spirit of a bull-dog when pinched, or 
a bull when pinned ; it is then that they make best 
sport; and as my sensations under an attack are 
probably a happy compound of the united energies 
of these amiable animals, you may perhaps see what 
Marrall calls l rare sport,' and some good tossing 
and goring, in the course of the controversy. But 
I must be in the right cue first, and I doubt I am 
almost too far off to be in a sufficient fury for the 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 177 

purpose. And then I have effeminated and ener- 
vated myself with love and the summer in these last 
two months. 

" I wrote to Mr. Hobhouse, the other day, and 
foretold that Juan would either fall entirely or suc- 
ceed completely; there will be no medium. Ap- 
pearances are not favourable ; but as you write the 
day after publication, it can hardly be decided what 
opinion will predominate. You seem in a fright, 
and doubtless with cause. Come what may I never 
will flatter the million's canting in any shape. Cir- 
cumstances may or may not have placed me at times 
in a situation to lead the public opinion, but the 
public opinion never led, nor ever shall lead, me. 
I will not sit on a degraded throne; so pray put 
Messrs. * * or * *, or Tom Moore, or * * * upon it ; 
they will all of them be transported with their 

" P. S. The Countess Guiccioli is much better 
than she was. I sent you, before leaving Venice, 
the real original sketch which gave rise to the 
' Vampire,' &c. Did you get it ?" 

This letter was, of course (like most of those he 
addressed to England at this time), intended to be 
shown ; and having been, among others, permitted 
to see it, I took occasion, in my very next com- 
munication to Lord Byron, to twit him a little with 
the passage in it relating to myself, the only one, 
as far as I can learn, that ever fell from my noble 
friend's pen during our intimacy, in which he has 
spoken of me otherwise than in terms of kindness 


178 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

and the most undeserved praise. Transcribing his 
own words, as well as I could recollect them, at the 
top of my letter, I added, underneath, " Is this the 
way you speak of your friends ? " Not long after, 
too, when visiting him at Venice, I rememher making 
the same harmless little sneer a subject of raillery 
with him ; but he declared boldly that he had no 
recollection of having ever written such words, and 
that, if they existed, " he must have been half 
asleep when he wrote them." 

I have mentioned the circumstance merely for the 
purpose of remarking, that with a sensibility vul- 
nerable at so many points as his was, and acted 
upon by an imagination so long practised in self- 
tormenting, it is only wonderful that, thinking con- 
stantly, as his letters prove him to have been, of 
distant friends, and receiving from few or none 
equal proofs of thoughtfblness in return, he should 
not more frequently have broken out into such 
sallies against the absent and " unreplying." For 
myself, I can only say that, from the moment I 
began to unravel his character, the most slighting 
and even acrimonious expressions that I could have 
heard he had, in a fit of spleen, uttered against me, 
would have no more altered my opinion of his dis- 
position, nor disturbed my affection for him, than 
the momentary clouding over of a bright sty could 
leave an impression on the mind of gloom, after its 
shadow had passed away. 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 179 


" Ravenna, August 9. 1819. 

u Talking of blunders reminds me of Ireland 
Ireland of Moore. What is this I see in Galignani 
about ' Bermuda agent deputy appeal at- 
tachment,' &c. ? What is the matter ? Is it any 
thing in which his friends can be of use to him ? 
Pray inform me. 

" Of Don Juan I hear nothing further from you ; 

* * *, but the papers don't seem so fierce as the 
letter you sent me seemed to anticipate, by their 
extracts at least in Galignani's Messenger. I never 
saw such a set of fellows as you are ! And then the 
pains taken to exculpate the modest publisher he 
remonstrated, forsooth ! I will write a preface that 
shall exculpate you and * * *, &c. completely, on that 
point ; but, at the same time, I will cut you up, like 
gourds. You have no more soul than the Count de 
Caylus, (who assured his friends, on his death-bed, 
that he had none, and that he must know better 
than they whether he had one or no,) and no more 
blood than a water-melon ! And I see there hath 
been asterisks, and what Perry used to called 

* domned cutting and slashing' but, never mind. 

" I write in haste. To-morrow I set off for 
Bologna. I write to you with thunder, lightning, 
&c. and all the winds of heaven whistling through 
my hair, and the racket of preparation to boot. 
4 My mistress dear, who hath fed my heart upon 
smiles and wine' for the last two months, set off 
with her husband for Bologna this morning, and it 
N 2 


seems that I follow him at three to-morrow morning. 
I cannot tell how our romance will end, but it hath 
gone on hitherto most erotically. Such perils and 
escapes ! Juan's are as child's play in comparison. 
The fools think that all my poeshie is always allusive 
to my own adventures : I have had at one time or 
another better and more extraordinary and perilous 
and pleasant than these, every day of the week, if 
I might tell them ; but that must never be. 
" I hope Mrs. M. has accouched. 

" Yours ever." 


" Bologna, August 12. 1819. 

" I do not know how far I may be able to reply 
to your letter, for I am not very well to-day. Last 
night I went to the representation of Alfieri's Mirra, 
the two last acts of which threw me into con- 
vulsions. I do not mean by that word a lady's 
hysterics, but the agony of reluctant tears, and the 
choking shudder, which I do not often undergo for 
fiction. This is but the second time for any thing 
under reality : the first was on seeing Kean's Sir 
Giles Overreach. The worst was, that the f Dama' in 
whose box I was, went off in the same way, I really 
believe more from fright than any other sympathy 
at least with the players : but she has been ill, and 
I have been ill, and we are all languid and pathetic 
this morning, with great expenditure of sal volatile.* 
But, to return to your letter of the 23d of July. 

* The " Dama," in whose compcny he witnessed this re- 
presentation, thus describes its effect upon him : " The play 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 181 

" You are right, Gifford is right, Crabbe is right, 
Hobhouse is right you are all right, and I am 
all wrong ; but do, pray, let me have that pleasure. 
Cut me up root and branch ; quarter me in the 
Quarterly ; send round my < disjecti membra poetae,' 
like those of the Levite's concubine ; make me, if 
you will, a spectacle to men and angels ; but don't 
ask me to alter, for I won't : I am obstinate and 
lazy and there's the truth. 

" But, nevertheless, I will answer your friend 
P * *, who objects to the quick succession of fun and 
gravity, as if in that case the gravity did not (in 
intention, at least) heighten the fun. His metaphor 
is, that ' we are never scorched and drenched at the 

was that of Mirra ; the actors, and particularly the actress who 
performed the part of Mirra, seconded with much success the 
intentions of our great dramatist. Lord Byron took a strong 
interest in the representation, and it was evident that he was 
deeply affected. At length there came a point of the perform- 
ance at which he could no longer restrain his emotions; he 
burst into a flood of tears, and, his sobs preventing him from 
remaining any longer in the box, he rose and left the theatre. 
I saw him similarly affected another time during a repre- 
sentation of Alfieri's ' Philip,' at Ravenna." " Gli attori, e 
special men te 1' attrice che rappresentava Mirra secondava assai 
bene la mente del nostro grande tragico. L. B. prece molto 
interesse alia rappresentazione, e si conosceva ehe era molto 
commosso. Venne un punto poi della tragedia in cui non 
pote piii frenare la sua emozione, diede in un diretto pianto 
e i singhiozzi gl' impedirono di piu restare nei palco ; onde 
si levo, e parti dal teatro. In uno stato simile lo viddi un 
altra volta a Ravenna ad una rappresentazione del Filippo 

N 3 

182 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

same time.' Blessings on his experience ! Ask him 
these questions about ' scorching and drenching.' 
Did he never play at cricket, or walk a mile in hot 
weather ? Did he never spill a dish of tea over him- 
self in handing the cup to his charmer, to the great 
shame of his nankeen breeches ? Did he never swim 
in the sea at noonday with the sun in his eyes and 
on his head, which all the foam of ocean could not 
cool ? Did he never draw his foot out of too hot 
water, d ning his eyes and his valet's ? Did he 
never tumble into a river or lake, fishing, and sit in 
his wet clothes in the boat, or on the bank, after- 
wards * scorched and drenched,' like a true sports- 
man ? ' Oh for breath to utter ! ' but make him 
my compliments ; he is a clever fellow for all that 
a very clever fellow. 

" You ask me for the plan of Donny Johnny : I 
have no plan ; I had no plan ; but I had or have ma- 
terials ; though if, like Tony Lumpkin, * I am to be 
snubbed so when I am in spirits,' the poem will be 
naught, and the poet turn serious again. If it don't 
take, I will leave it off where it is, with all due 
respect to the public ; but if continued, it must be 
in my own way. You might as well make Harnlet 
(or Diggory) act mad ' in a strait waistcoat as 
trammel my buffoonery, if I am to be a buffoon ; 
their gestures and my thoughts would only be piti- 
ably absurd and ludicrously constrained. Why, man, 
the soul of such writing is its licence ; at least 
the liberty of that licence, if one likes not that one 
should abuse it. Jt is like Trial by Jury and Peer- 
age and the Habeas Corpus a very fine thing, 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 183 

but chiefly in the reversion ; because no one wishes 
to be tried for the mere pleasure of proving his 
possession of the privilege. 

" But a truce with these reflections. You are too 
earnest and eager about a work never intended to 
be serious. Do you suppose that I could have any 
intention but to giggle and make giggle ? a play- 
ful satire, with as little poetry as could be helped, 
was what I meant. And as to the indecency, do, 
pray, read in Boswell what Johnson, the sullen 
moralist, says of Prior and Paulo Purgante. 

" Will you get a favour done for me ? You can, 
by your government friends, Croker, Canning, or 
my old schoolfellow Peel, and I can't. Here it is. 
Will you ask them to appoint (without salary or 
emolument) a noble Italian (whom I will name after- 
wards) consul or vice-consul for Ravenna ? He is a 
man of very large property, noble, too ; but he 
wishes to have a British protection, in case of 
changes. Ravenna is near the sea. He wants no 
emolument whatever. That his office might be use- 
ful, I know ; as I lately sent off from Ravenna to 
Trieste a poor devil of an English sailor, who had 
remained there sick, sorry, and pennyless (having 
been set ashore in 1814?), from the want of any ac- 
credited agent able or willing to help him home- 
wards. Will you get this done ? If you do, I will 
then send his name and condition, subject, of course, 
to rejection, if not approved when known. 

" I know that in the Levant you make consuls 
and vice-consuls, perpetually, of foreigners. This 
man is a patrician, and has twelve thousand a year. 

184 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

His motive is a British protection in case of new 
invasions. Don't you think Croker would do it for 
us ? To be sure, my interest is rare ! ! but, perhaps, 
a brother wit in the Tory line might do a good turn 
at the request of so harmless and long absent a 
Whig, particularly as there is no salary or burden of 
any sort to be annexed to the office. 

" I can assure you, I should look upon it as a great 
obligation ; but, alas ! that very circumstance may, 
very probably, operate to the contrary indeed, it 
ought ; but I have, at least, been an honest and an 
open enemy. Amongst your many splendid govern- 
ment connections, could not you, think you, get our 
Bibulus made a Consul ? or make me one, that I may 
make him my Vice. You may be assured that, in 
case of accidents in Italy, he would be no feeble 
adjunct as you would think, if you knew his 

" What is all this about Tom Moore ? but why do 
I ask ? since the state of my own affairs would not 
permit me to be of use to him, though they are 
greatly improved since 1816, and may, with some 
more luck and a little prudence, become quite clear. 
It seems his claimants are American merchants? 
There goes Nemesis! Moore abused America. It is 
always thus in the long run : Time, the Avenger. 
You have seen every trampler down, in turn, from 
Buonaparte to the simplest individuals. You saw 
how some were avenged even upon my insignifi- 
cance, and how in turn * * * paid for his atrocity. 
It is an odd world ; but the watch has its mainspring, 
after all. 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 185 

" So the Prince has been repealing Lord Edward 
Fitzgerald's forfeiture ? Ecco un sonetto ! 

" To be the father of the fatherless, 
To stretch the hand from the throne's height, and raise 
His offspring, who expired in other days 
To make thy sire's sway by a kingdom less, 
This is to be a monarch, and repress 
Envy into unutterable praise. 
Dismiss thy guard, and trust thee to such traits, 
For who would lift a hand, except to bless ? 
Were it not easy, sir, and is't not sweet 
To make thyself beloved? and to be 
Omnipotent by Mercy's means ? for thus 
Thy sovereignty would grow but more complete, 
A despot thou, and yet thy people free, 
And by the heart, not hand, enslaving us. 

" There, you dogs ! there's a sonnet for you : you 
won't have such as that in a hurry from Mr. Fitz- 
gerald. You may publish it with my name, an' ye 
wool. He deserves all praise, bad and good ; it was 
a very noble piece of principality. Would you like 
an epigram a translation ? 

" If for silver, or for gold, 

You could melt ten thousand pimples 
Into half a dozen dimples, 
Then your face we might behold, 

Looking, doubtless, much more snugly, 
Yet ev'n then 'twould be d d ugly. 

" This was written on some Frenchwoman, by 
Rulhieres, I believe. Yours." 

186 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 


" Bologna, August 23. 1819. 

" I send you a letter to R * * ts, signed Wortley 
Clutterbuck, which you may publish in what form 
you please, in answer to his article. I have had 
many proofs of men's absurdity, but he beats all in 
folly. Why, the wolf in sheep's clothing has tumbled 
into the very trap ! We'll strip him. The letter is 
written in great haste, and amidst a thousand vex- 
ations. Your letter only came yesterday, so that 
there is no time to polish : the post goes out to- 
morrow. The date is Little Piddlington.' Let 
# * * * correct the press : he knows and can read 
the handwriting. Continue to keep the anonymous 
about 'Juan;' it helps us to fight against over- 
whelming numbers. I have a thousand distractions 
at present ; so excuse haste, and wonder I can act 
or write at all. Answer by post, as usual. 

" Yours. 

" P. S. If I had had time, and been quieter and 
nearer, I would have cut him to hash ; but as it is, 
you can judge for yourselves." 

The letter to the Reviewer, here mentioned, had 
its origin in rather an amusing circumstance. In 
the first Canto of Don Juan appeared the following 
passage : 

" For fear some prudish readers should grow skittish, 
I've bribed My Grandmother's Review, the British ! 

" I sent it in a letter to the editor, 

Who thank'd me duly by return of post 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 187 

I'm for a handsome article his creditor ; 

Yet if my gentle Muse he please to roast, 
And break a promise after having her, 

Denying the receipt of what it cost, 
And smear his page with gall instead of honey, 
All I can say is that he had the money." 

On the appearance of the poem, the learned 
editor of the Review in question allowed himself to 
be decoyed into the ineffable absurdity of taking the 
charge as serious, and, in his succeeding number, 
came forth with an indignant contradiction of it. 
To this tempting subject the letter, written so 
hastily off at Bologna, related ; but, though printed 
for Mr. Murray, in a pamphlet consisting of twenty- 
three pages, it was never published by him.* Being 
valuable, however, as one of the best specimens we 
have of Lord Byron's simple and thoroughly English 
prose, I shall here preserve some extracts from it. 


" My dear R ts, 

" As a believer in the Church of England to 
say nothing of the State I have been an occasional 
reader, and great admirer, though not a subscriber, 
to your Review. But I do not know that any article 
of its contents ever gave me much surprise till the 
eleventh of your late twenty-seventh number made 
its appearance. You have there most manfully re- 
futed a calumnious accusation of bribery and cor- 
ruption, the credence of which in the public mind 

* It appeared afterwards in the Liberal. 

188 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

might not only have damaged your reputation as a 
clergyman and an editor, but, what would have been 
still worse, have injured the circulation of your 
journal ; which, I regret to hear, is not so extensive 
as the ' purity (as you well observe) of its, &c. &c.' 
and the present taste for propriety, would induce 
us to expect. The charge itself is of a solemn na- 
ture ; and, although in verse, is couched in terms 
of such circumstantial gravity as to induce a belief 
little short of that generally accorded to the thirty- 
nine articles, to which you so generously subscribed 
on taking your degrees. It is a charge the most 
revolting to the heart of man from its frequent 
occurrence ; to the mind of a statesman from its 
occasional truth ; and to the soul of an editor from 
its moral impossibility. You are charged then in 
the last line of one octave stanza, and the whole 
eight lines of the next, viz. 209th and 210th of the 
first Canto of that l pestilent poem,' Don Juan, with 
receiving, and still more foolishly acknowledging, 
the receipt of certain moneys to eulogise the un- 
known author, who by this account must be known 
to you, if to nobody else. An impeachment of this 
nature, so seriously made, there is but one way of 
refuting ; and it is my firm persuasion, that whether 
you did or did not (and /believe that you did not) 
receive the said moneys, of which I wish that he 
had specified the sum, you are quite right in denying 
all knowledge of the transaction. If charges of this 
nefarious description are to go forth, sanctioned by 
all the solemnity of circumstance, and guaranteed 
by the veracity of verse (as Counsellor Phillips would 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 189 

say), what is to become of readers hitherto im- 
plicitly confident in the not less veracious prose of 
our critical journals ? what is to become of the re- 
views ; and, if the reviews fail, what is to become of 
the editors ? It is common cause, and you have done 
well to sound the alarm. I myself, in my humble 
sphere, will be one of your echoes. In the words of 
the tragedian Liston, I love a row,' and you seem 
justly determined to make one. 

" It is barely possible, certainly improbable, that 
the writer might have been in jest ; but this only 
aggravates his crime. A joke, the proverb says, 
4 breaks no bones ;' but it may break a bookseller, or 
it may be the cause of bones being broken. The 
jest is but a bad one at the best for the author, and 
might have been a still worse one for you, if your 
copious contradiction did not certify to all whom it 
may concern your own indignant innocence, and the 
immaculate purity of the British Review. I do not 

doubt your word, my dear R ts, yet I cannot 

help wishing that, in a case of such vital importance, 
it had assumed the more substantial shape of an 
affidavit sworn before the Lord Mayor Atkins, who 
readily receives any deposition ; and doubtless would 
have brought it in some way as evidence of the de- 
signs of the Reformers to set fire to London, at the 
same time that he himself meditates the same good 
office towards the river Thames. 

" I recollect hearing, soon after the publication, 
this subject discussed at the tea-table of Mr. * * * 
the poet, and Mrs. and the Misses ***** being 
in a corner of the room perusing the proof sheets of 

190 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

Mr. * * * 's poems, the male part of the conversazione 
were at liberty to make some observations on the 
poem and passage in question, and there was a 
difference of opinion. Some thought the allusion was 
to the ' British Critic ;' others, that by the expres- 
sion ' My Grandmother's Review,' it was intimated 
that * my grandmother' was not the reader of the 
review, but actually the writer ; thereby insinuating", 

my dear Mr. II ts, that you were an old woman ; 

because, as people often say, ' Jeffrey's Review,' 
' Gifford's Review,' in lieu of Edinburgh and Quar- 
terly, so * My Grandmother's Review' and R ts's 

might be also synonymous. Now, whatever colour 
this insinuation might derive from the circumstance 
of your wearing a gown, as well as from your time 
of life, your general style, and various passages of 
your writings, I will take upon myself to excul- 
pate you from all suspicion of the kind, and assert, 

without calling Mrs. R ts in testimony, that if 

ever you should be chosen Pope, you will pass 
through all the previous ceremonies with as much 
credit as any pontiff since the parturition of Joan. 
It is very unfair to judge of sex from writings, par- 
ticularly from those of the British Review. We are 
all liable to be deceived, and it is an indisputable fact 
that many of the best articles in your journal, which 
were attributed to a veteran female, were actually 
written by you yourself, and yet to this day there 
are people who could never find out the difference. 
But let us return to the more immediate question. 

" I agree with you that it is impossible Lord B. 
should be the author, not only because, as a British 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 191 

peer and a British poet, it would be impracticable 
for him to have recourse to such facetious fiction, but 
for some other reasons which you have omitted to 
state. In the first place, his Lordship has no grand- 
mother. Now the author and we may believe him 
in this doth expressly state that th e_j British ^Js 
his ' Grandmother's ReviewLil^aildJ^ as I think I 
have distinctly proved, this was not a mere figur- 
ative allusion to your supposed intellectual age 
and sex, my dear friend, it follows, whether you be 
she or no, that there is such an elderly lady still 

" Shall I give you what I think a prudent opinion? 
I don't mean to insinuate, God forbid ! but if, by 
any accident, there should have been such a cor- 
respondence between you and the unknown author, 
whoever he may be, send him back his money ; I 
dare say he will be very glad to have it again ; it 
can't be much, considering the value of the article 
and the circulation of the journal ; and you are too 
modest to rate your praise beyond its real worth : 
don't be angry, I know you won't, at this appraise- 
ment of your powers of eulogy : for on the other 
hand, my dear fellow, depend upon it your abuse is 
worth, not its own weight, that's a feather, but 
your weight in gold. So don't spare it ; if he has 
bargained for that, give it handsomely, and depend 
upon your doing him a friendly office. 

" What the motives of this writer may have been 
for (as you magnificently translate his quizzing you) 
* stating, with the particularity which belongs to 
fact, the forgery of a groundless fiction/ (do, pray, 



my dear R., talk a little less in King Cambyses' 
vein/) I cannot pretend to say ; perhaps to laugh at 
you, but that is no reason for your benevolently 
making all the world laugh also. I approve of your 
being angry, I tell you I am angry too, but you 
should not have shown it so outrageously. Your 
solemn * if somebody personating the Editor of the, 
&c. &c. has received from Lord B. or from any 
other person,' reminds me of Charley Incledon's 
usual exordium when people came into the tavern 
to hear him sing without paying their share of the 
reckoning ' if a maun, or ony maun, or ony other 
maun,' &c. &c. ; you have both the same redundant 
eloquence. But why should you think any body 
would personate you ? Nobody would dream of such 
a prank who ever read your compositions, and perhaps 
not many who have heard your conversation. But 
I have been inoculated with a little of your prolixity. 

The fact is, my dear R ts, that somebody has 

tried to make a fool of you, and what he did not 
succeed in doing, you have done for him and for 

Towards the latter end of August, Count Guiccioli, 
accompanied by his lady, went for a short time to 
visit some of his Romagnese estates, while Lord 
Byron remained at Bologna alone. And here, with 
a heart softened and excited by the new feeling that 
had taken possession of him, he appears to have given 
himself up, during this interval of solitude, to a train 
of melancholy and impassioned thought, such as, for 
a time, brought back all the romance of his youth- 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 193 

ful days. That spring of natural tenderness within 
his soul, which neither the world's efforts nor his own 
had been able to chill or choke up, was now, with 
something of its first freshness, set flowing once more. 
He again knew what it was to love and be loved, 
too late, it is true, for happiness, and too wrongly 
for peace, but with devotion enough, on the part of 
the woman, to satisfy even his thirst for affection, 
and with a sad earnestness, on his own, a foreboding 
fidelity, which made him cling but the more passion- 
ately to this attachment from feeling that it would 
be his last. 

A circumstance which he himself used to mention 
as having occurred at this period will show how over- 
powering, at times, was the rush of melancholy over 
his heart. It was his fancy, during Madame 
Guiccioli's absence from Bologna, to go daily to her 
house at his usual hour of visiting her, and there, 
causing her apartments to be opened, to sit turning 
over her books, and writing in them. * He would 

* One of these notes, written at the end of the 5th chapter, 
18th book of Corinne (" Fragmens des Pense"es de Corinne") 
is as follows : 

" I knew Madame de Stael well, better than she knew 
Italy, but I little thought that, one day, I should think ivith 
her thoughts, in the country where she has laid the scene of her 
most attractive productions. She is sometimes right, and often 
wrong, about Italy and England ; but almost always true in 
delineating the heart, which is of but one nation, and of no 
country, or, rather, of all. 

" Bologna, August 23. 1819." 


194? NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

then descend into her garden, where he passed hours 
in musing ; and it was on an occasion of this kind, 
as he stood looking, in a state of unconscious reverie, 
into one of those fountains so common in the gardens 
of Italy, that there came suddenly into his mind such 
desolate fancies, such bodings of the misery he might 
bring on her he loved, by that doom which (as he 
has himself written) "makes it fatal to be loved*," 
that, overwhelmed with his own thoughts, he burst 
into an agony of tears. 

During the same few days it was that he wrote in 
the last page of Madame Guiccioli's copy of 
" Corinne " the following remarkable note : 

" My dearest Teresa, I have read this book in 
your garden ; my love, you were absent, or else I 
could not have read it. It is a favourite book of 
yours, and the writer was a friend of mine. You 
will not understand these English words, and others 
will not understand them which is the reason I 
have not scrawled them in Italian. But you will 
recognise the hand-writing of him who passionately 
loved you, and you will divine that, over a book 
which was yours, he could only think of love. In 

* " Oh Love ! what is it, in this world of ours, 

Which makes it fatal to be loved? ah! why 
With cypress branches hast thou wreath'd thy bowers, 

And made thy best interpreter a sigh? 
As those who dote on odours pluck the flowers, 

And place them on their breasts but place to die 
Thus the frail beings we would fondly cherish 
Are laid within our bosoms but to perish." 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 195 

that word, beautiful in all languages, but most so in 
yours Amor mio is comprised my existence 
here and hereafter. I feel I exist here, and I fear 
that I shall exist hereafter, to what purpose you 
will decide ; my destiny rests with you, and you are 
a woman, seventeen years of age, and two out of a 
convent. I wish that you had stayed there, with all 
my heart, or, at least, that I had never met you 
in your married state. 

" But all this is too late. I love you, and you 
love me, at least, you say so, and act as if you did 
so, which last is a great consolation in all events. 
But /more than love you, and cannot cease to love 

" Think of me, sometimes, when the Alps and the 
ocean divide us, but they never will, unless you 
wish it. BYRON. 

" Bologna, August 25. 1819." 


" Bologna, August 24. 1819. 

" I wrote to you by last post, enclosing a buffoon- 
ing letter for publication, addressed to the buffoon 

R ts, who has thought proper to tie a canister to 

his own tail. It was written off-hand, and in the 
midst of circumstances not very favourable to face- 
tiousness, so that there may, perhaps, be more bit- 
terness than enough for that sort of small acid punch: 
you will tell me. 

" Keep the anonymous, in any case : it helps what 
fun there may be. But if the matter grow serious 
o 2 

196 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

about Don Juan, and you feel yourself in a scrape, 
or me either, own that! am the author, /will never 
shrink ; and if you do, I can always answer you in 
the question of Guatimozin to his minister each 
being on his own coals.* 

" I wish that I had been in better spirits ; but I 
am out of sorts, out of nerves, and now and then (I 
begin to fear) out of my senses. All this Italy has 
done for me, and not England : I defy all you, and 
your climate to boot, to make me mad. But if ever 
I do really become a bedlamite, and wear a strait 
waistcoat, let me be brought back among you ; your 
people will then be proper company. 

" I assure you what I here say and feel has nothing 
to do with England, either in a literary or personal 
point of view. All my present pleasures or plagues 
are as Italian as the opera. And after all, they are 
but trifles; for all this arises from my ' Dama's 1 
being in the country for three days (at Capo-flume). 
But as I could never live but for one human being 
at a time, (and, I assure you, that one has never been 
myself, as you may know by the consequences, for 
the selfish are successful in life,) I feel alone and 

I have sent for my daughter from Venice, and I 
ride daily, and walk in a garden, under a purple 
canopy of grapes, and sit by a fountain, and talk with 
the gardener of his tools, which seem greater than 
Adam's, and with his wife, and with his son's wife, 
who is the youngest of the party, and, I think, talks 

* " Am I now reposing on a bed of flowers ? " 


1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 197 

best of the three. Then I revisit the Campo Santo, 
and my old friend, the sexton, has two but one the 
prettiest daughter imaginable ; and I amuse myself 
with contrasting her beautiful and innocent face of 
fifteen with the skulls with which he has peopled 
several cells, and particularly with that of one skull 
dated 1766, which was once covered (the tradition 
goes) by the most lovely features of Bologna noble 
and rich. When I look at these, and at this girl 
when I think of what they ivere, and what she must 
be why, then, my dear Murray, I won't shock you 
by saying what I think. It is little matter what 
becomes of us ' bearded men,' but I don't like the 
notion of a beautiful woman's lasting less than a 
beautiful tree than her own picture her own 
shadow, which won't change so to the sun as her 
face to the mirror. I must leave off, for my head 
aches consumedly. I have never been quite well 
since the night of the representation of Alfieri's 
Mirra, a fortnight ago. Yours ever." 


" Bologna, August 29. 1819. 

" I have been in a rage these two days, and am 
still bilious therefrom. You shall hear. A captain 
of dragoons, * *, Hanoverian by birth, in the Papal 
troops at present, whom I had obliged by a loan when 
nobody would lend him a paul, recommended a horse 
to me, on sale by a Lieutenant * *, an officer who 
unites the sale of cattle to the purchase of men. I 
bought it. The next day, on shoeing the horse, we 
o 3 

198 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

discovered the thrush, the animal being warranted 
sound. I sent to reclaim the contract and the money. 
The lieutenant desired to speak with me in person. 
I consented. He came. It was his own particular 
request. He began a story. I asked him if he 
would return the money. He said no but he 
would exchange. He asked an exorbitant price for 
his other horses. I told him that he was a thief. 
He said he was an officer and a man of honour, and 
pulled out a Parmesan passport signed by General 
Count Neifperg. I answered, that as he was an 
officer, I would treat him as such ; and that as to his 
being a gentleman, he might prove it by returning 
the money : as for his Parmesan passport, I should 
have valued it more if it had been a Parmesan 
cheese. He answered in high terms, and said that 
if it were the morning (it was about eight o'clock in 
the evening) he would have satisfaction. I then lost 
my temper: 'As for THAT,' I replied, 'you shall 
have it directly, it will be mutual satisfaction, I 
can assure you. You are a thief, and, as you say, an 
officer ; my pistols are in the next room loaded ; take 
one of the candles, examine, and make your choice 
of weapons.' He replied, that pistols were English 
weapons ; he always fought with the sword. I told 
him that I was able to accommodate him, having 
three regimental swords in a drawer near us : and he 
might take the longest and put himself on guard. 

" All this passed in presence of a third person. 
He then said No; but to-morrow morning he would 
give me the meeting at any time or place. I 
answered that it was not usual to appoint meetings 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 199 

in the presence of witnesses, and that we had best 
speak man to man, and appoint time and instruments. 
But as the man present was leaving the room, the 
Lieutenant * *, before he could shut the door after 
him, ran out roaring * Help and murder' most lustily, 
and fell into a sort of hysteric in the arms of about 
fifty people, who all saw that I had no weapon of 
any sort or kind about me, and followed him, asking 
him what the devil was the matter with him. Nothing 
would do : he ran away without his hat, and went to 
bed, ill of the fright. He then tried his complaint at 
the police, which dismissed it as frivolous. He is, I 
believe, gone away, or going. 

" The horse was warranted, but, I believe, so 
worded that the villain will not be obliged to 
refund, according to law. He endeavoured to raise 
up an indictment of assault and battery, but as it 
was in a public inn, in a frequented street, there 
were too many witnesses to the contrary ; and, as a 
military man, he has not cut a martial figure, even 
in the opinion of the priests. He ran off in such a 
hurry that he left his hat, and never missed it till he 
got to his hostel or inn. The facts are as I tell you, 
I can assure you. He began by t coming Captain 
Grand over me,' or I should never have thought of 
trying his cunning in fence.' But what could I 
do ? He talked of ' honour, and satisfaction, and his 
commission ;' he produced a military passport; there 
are severe punishments for regular duels on the Con- 
tinent, and trifling ones for rencontres, so that it is 
best to fight it out directly ; he had robbed, and then 
wanted to insult me ; what could I do ? My patience 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 201 

fifteenth of September: we visited the Euganean 
Hills and Arqua, and wrote our names in the book 
which is presented to those who make this pilgrim- 
age. But I cannot linger over these recollections 
of happiness ; the contrast with the present is too 
dreadfuL If a blessed spirit, while in the full 
enjoyment of heavenly happiness, were sent down 
to this earth to suffer all its miseries, the contrast 
could not be more dreadful between the past and 
the present, than what I have endured from the 
moment when that terrible word reached my ears, 
and I for ever lost the hope of again beholding him, 
one look from whom I valued beyond earth's all 
happiness. When I arrived at Venice, the phy- 
sicians ordered that I should try the country air, 
and Lord Byron, having a villa at La Mira, gave it 
up to me, and came to reside there with me. At 
this place we passed the autumn, and there I had 
the pleasure of forming your acquaintance. " * 

* " II Conte Guiccioli doveva per affari ritornare a Ra- 
venna ; lo stato della mia salute esiggeva che io ritornassi in 
vece a Venezia. Egli acconsenti dunque che Lord Byron, 
mi fosse compagno di viaggio. Partimmo da Bologna alii 15 
di S re . visitammo insieme i Colli Euganei ed Arqua ; scri- 
vemmo i nostri nomi nel libro che si presenta a quelli che 
fanno quel pellegrinaggio. Ma sopra tali rimembranze di felicita 
non posso fermarmi, caro Sign r . Moore; 1'opposizione col 
presente 6 troppo forte, e se un anima benedetta nel pieno 
godimento di tutte le felicita celesti fosse mandata quaggiu 
e condannata a sopportare tutte le miserie della nostra terra 
non potrebbe sentire piti terribile contrasto fra il passato ed il 
presente di quello che io sento dacche quella terribile parola e" 
giunta alle mie orecchie, dacche ho perduto la speranza di piu 

202 NOTICES OF THE 1819* 

It was my good fortune, at this period, in the 
course of a short and hasty tour through the north 
of Italy, to pass five or six days with Lord Byron at 
Venice. I had written to him on my way thither 
to announce my coming, and to say how happy it 
would make me could I tempt him to accompany 
me as far as Rome. 

During my stay at Geneva, an opportunity had 
been afforded me of observing the exceeding readi- 
ness with which even persons the least disposed to 
be prejudiced gave an ear to any story relating to 
Lord Byron, in which the proper portions of odium 
and romance were but plausibly mingled. In the 
course of conversation, one day, with the late 
amiable and enlightened Monsieur D * *, that gen- 
tleman related, with much feeling, to my fellow- 
traveller and myself, the details of a late act of 
seduction of which Lord Byron had, he said, been 
guilty, and which was made to comprise within 
itself all the worst features of such unmanly frauds 
upon innocence; the victim, a young unmarried 
lady, of one of the first families of Venice, whom 
the noble seducer had lured from her father's house 
to his own, and, after a few weeks, most inhumanly 
turned her out of doors. In vain, said the relator, 
did she entreat to become his servant, his slave ; 

vedere quello di cui uno sguardo valeva per me piu di tutte le 
felicita della terra. Giunti a Venezia i medici mi ordinarono 
di respirare 1'aria della campagna. Egli aveva una villa alia 
Mira, la cedesse a me, e venne meco. La passainmo 1'autun- 
no, e la ebbi il bene di fare la vostra conoscenza." MS. 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 203 

in vain did she ask to remain in some dark corner 
of his mansion, from which she might be able to 
catch a glimpse of his form as he passed. Her 
betrayer was obdurate, and the unfortunate young 
lady, in despair at being thus abandoned by him, 
threw herself into the canal, from which she was 
taken out but to be consigned to a mad-house. 
Though convinced that there must be considerable 
exaggeration in this story, it was only on my arrival 
at Venice I ascertained that the whole was a romance ; 
and that out of the circumstances (already laid before 
the reader) connected with Lord Byron's fantastic 
and, it must be owned, discreditable fancy for the 
Fornarina, this pathetic tale, so implicitly believed 
at Geneva, was fabricated. 

Having parted at Milan, with Lord John Russell, 
whom I had accompanied from England, and whom 
I was to rejoin, after a short visit to Rome, at 
Genoa, I made purchase of a small and (as it soon 
proved) crazy travelling carriage, and proceeded 
alone on my way to Venice. My time being limited, 
I stopped no longer at the intervening places than 
was sufficient to hurry over their respective wonders, 
and, leaving Padua at noon on the 8th of October, I 
found myself, about two o'clock, at the door of my 
friend's villa, at La Mira. He was but just up, and 
in his bath ; but the servant having announced my 
arrival, he returned a message that, if I would wait 
till he was dressed, he would accompany me to 
Venice. The interval I employed in conversing with 
my old acquaintance, Fletcher, and in viewing, under 
his guidance, some of the apartments of the villa. 



It was not long before Lord Byron himself made 
his appearance; and the delight I felt in meeting 
him once more, after a separation of so many years, 
was not a little heightened by observing that his 
pleasure was, to the full, as great, while it was 
rendered doubly touching by the evident rarity of 
such meetings to him of late, and the frank outbreak 
of cordiality and gaiety with which he gave way to 
his feelings. It would be impossible, indeed, to 
convey to those who have not, at some time or 
other, felt the charm of his manner, any idea of 
what it could be when under the influence of such 
pleasurable excitement as it was most flatteringly 
evident he experienced at this moment. 

I was a good deal struck, however, by the altera- 
tion that had taken place in his personal appearance. 
He had grown fatter both in person and face, and 
the latter had most suffered by the change, having 
lost, by the enlargement of the features, some of that 
refined and spiritualised look that had, in other times, 
distinguished it. The addition of whiskers, too, 
which he had not long before been induced to adopt, 
from hearing that some one had said he had a " faccia 
di musico," as well as the length to which his hair 
grew down on his neck, and the rather foreign air of 
his coat and cap, all combined to produce that 
dissimilarity to his former self I had observed in 
him. He was still, however, eminently handsome : 
and, in exchange for whatever his features might 
have lost of their high, romantic character, they had 
become more fitted for the expression of that arch, 
waggish wisdom, that Epicurean play of humour, 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 205 

which he had shown to be equally inherent in his 
various and prodigally gifted nature ; while, by the 
somewhat increased roundness of the contours, the 
resemblance of his finely formed mouth and chin to 
those of the Belvedere Apollo had become still 
more striking, 

His breakfast, which I found he rarely took before 
three or four o'clock in the afternoon, was speedily 
despatched, his habit being to eat it standing, and 
the meal in general consisting of one or two raw eggs, 
a cup of tea without either milk or sugar, and a bit 
of dry biscuit. Before we took our departure, he 
presented me to the Countess Guiccioli, who was at 
this time, as my readers already know, living under 
the same roof with him at La Mira ; and who, with 
a style of beauty singular in an Italian, as being 
fair-complexioned and delicate, left an impression 
upon my mind, during this our first short interview, 
of intelligence and amiableness such as all that I have 
since known or heard of her has but served to confirm. 

We now started together, Lord Byron and myself, 
in my little Milanese vehicle, for Fusina, his 
portly gondolier Tita, in a rich livery and most re- 
dundant mustachios, having seated himself on the 
front of the carriage, to the no small trial of its 
strength, which had already once given way, even 
under my own weight, between Verona and Vicenza. 
On our arrival at Fusina, my noble friend, from his 
familiarity with all the details of the place, had it in 
his power to save me both trouble and expense in 
the different arrangements relative to the custom- 
house, remise, &c. ; and the good-natured assiduity 

206 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

with which he bustled about in despatching these 
matters, gave me an opportunity of observing, in his 
use of the infirm limb, a much greater degree of 
activity than I had ever before, except in sparring, 

As we proceeded across the Lagoon in his gon- 
dola, the sun was just setting, and it was an evening 
such as Romance would have chosen for a first sight 
of Venice, rising " with her tiara of bright towers" 
above the wave ; while, to complete, as might be 
imagined, the solemn interest of the scene, I beheld 
it in company with him who had lately given a new 
life to its glories, and sung of that fair City of the 
Sea thus grandly : 

" I stood in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs ; 
A palace and a prison on each hand : 
I saw from out the wave her structures rise 
As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand : 
A thousand years their cloudy wings expand 
Around me, and a dying glory smiles 
O'er the far times, when many a subject land 
Look'd to the winged lion's marble piles, 

Where Venice sat in state, throned in her hundred isles." 

But, whatever emotions the first sight of such a 
scene might, under other circumstances, have in- 
spired me with, the mood of mind in which I now 
viewed it was altogether the very reverse of what 
might have been expected. The exuberant gaiety of 
my companion, and the recollections, any thing but 
romantic, into which our conversation wandered, 
put at once completely to flight all poetical and his- 
torical associations ; and our course was, I am almost 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 207 

ashamed to say, one of uninterrupted merriment and 
laughter till we found ourselves at the steps of my 
friend's palazzo on the Grand Canal. All that had 
ever happened, of gay or ridiculous, during our 
London life together, his scrapes and mylectur- 
ings, our joint adventures with the Bores and 
Blues, the two great enemies, as he always called 
them, of London happiness, our joyous nights to- 
gether at Watier's, Kinnaird's, &c. and " that d d 
supper of Rancliffe's which ought to have been a 
dinner," all was passed rapidly in review between 
us, and with a flow of humour and hilarity, on his 
side, of which it would have been difficult, even for 
persons far graver than I can pretend to be, not to 
have caught the contagion. 

He had all along expressed his determination that 
I should not go to any hotel, but fix my quarters at 
his house during the period of my stay ; and, had he 
been residing there himself, such an arrangement 
would have been all that I most desired. But, this 
not being the case, a common hotel was, I thought, 
a far readier resource ; and I therefore entreated 
that he would allow me to order an apartment at the 
Gran Bretagna, which had the reputation, I under- 
stood, of being a comfortable hotel. This, however, he 
would not hear of; and, as an inducement for me to 
agree to his plan, said that, as long as I chose to stay, 
though he should be obliged to return to La Mira in 
the evenings, he would make it a point to come to 
Venice every day and dine with me. As we now 
turned into the dismal canal, and stopped before his 
damp-looking mansion, my predilection for the Gran 

208 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

Bretagna returned in full force ; and I again ven- 
tured to hint that it would save an abundance of 
trouble to let me proceed thither. But " No no," 
he answered, "I see you think you'll be very un- 
comfortable here ; but you'll find that it is not quite 
so bad as you expect." 

As I groped my way after him through the dark 
hall, he cried out, " Keep clear of the dog;" arid 
before we had proceeded many paces farther, " Take 
care, or that monkey will fly at you;" a curious 
proof, among many others, of his fidelity to all the 
tastes of his youth, as it agrees perfectly with the 
description of his life at Newstead, in 1809, and of 
the sort of menagerie which his visiters had then to 
encounter in their progress through his hall. Having 
escaped these dangers, I followed him up the staircase 
to the apartment destined for me. All this time he 
had been despatching servants in various directions, 
one, to procure me a laquais de place ; another to 
go in quest of Mr. Alexander Scott, to whom he 
wished to give me in charge ; while a third was sent 
to order his Segretario to come to him. " So, then, 
you keep a Secretary ? " I said. " Yes," he answer- 
ed, " a fellow who cant write* but such are the 
names these pompous people give to things." 

When we had reached the door of the apartment 
it was discovered to be locked, and, to all appear- 
ance, had been so for some time, as the key could 
not be found; a circumstance which, to my 

* The title of Segretario is sometimes given, as in this 
to a head-servant or house-steward. 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 209 

English apprehension, naturally connected itself 
with notions of damp and desolation, and I again 
sighed inwardly for the Gran Bretagna. Impatient 
at the delay of the key, my noble host, with one of 
his humorous maledictions, gave a vigorous kick to 
the door and burst it open ; on which we at once 
entered into an apartment not only spacious and 
elegant, but wearing an aspect of comfort and habit- 
ableness which to a traveller's eye is as welcome as it 
is rare. " Here," he said, in a voice whose every tone 
spoke kindness and hospitality, " these are the 
rooms I use myself, and here I mean to establish 

He had ordered dinner from some Tratteria, and 
while waiting its arrival as well as that of Mr. 
Alexander Scott, whom he had invited to join us 
we stood out on the balcony, in order that, before 
the daylight was quite gone, I might have some 
glimpses of the scene which the Canal presented. 
Happening to remark, in looking up at the clouds, 
which were still bright in the west, that " what had 
struck me in Italian sunsets was that peculiar rosy 

hue " I had hardly pronounced the word 

rosy," when Lord Byron, clapping his hand on my 
mouth, said, with a laugh, " Come, d n it, Tom, 
don't be poetical." Among the few gondolas passing 
at the time, there was one at some distance, in 
which sat two gentlemen, who had the appearance 
of being English; and, observing them to look our 
way, Lord Byron putting his arms a-kimbo, said 
with a sort of comic swagger, " Ah ! if you, John 

VOL. IV, p 

210 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

Bulls, knew who the two fellows are, now standing 
up here, I think you would stare ! " I risk men- 
tioning these things, though aware how they may 
be turned against myself, for the sake of the other- 
wise indescribable traits of manner and character 
which they convey. After a very agreeable dinner, 
through which the jest, the story, and the laugh 
were almost uninterruptedly carried on, our noble 
host took leave of us to return to La Mira, while 
Mr. Scott and I went to one of the theatres, to see 
the Ottavia of Alfieri. 

The ensuing evenings, during my stay, were pass- 
ed much in the same manner, my mornings being 
devoted, under the kind superintendence of Mr. 
Scott, to a hasty, and, I fear, unprofitable view of 
the treasures of art with which Venice abounds. On 
the subjects of painting and sculpture Lord Byron 
has, in several of his letters, expressed strongly and, 
as to most persons will appear, heretically his 
opinions. In his want, however, of a due appreci- 
ation of these arts, he but resembled some of his 
great precursors in the field of poetry ; both 
Tasso and Milton, for example, having evinced so 
little tendency to such tastes*, that, throughout the 

* That this was the case with Milton is acknowledged by 
Richardson, who admired both Milton and the Arts too 
warmly to make such an admission upon any but valid 
grounds. " He does not appear," says this writer, " to have 
much regarded what was done with the pencil ; no, not even 
when in Italy, in Rome, in the Vatican. Neither does it 
seem Sculpture was much esteemed by him." After an autho- 
rity like this, the theories of. Hayley and others, with respect 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 211 

whole of their pages, there is not, I fear, one single 
allusion to any of those great masters of the pencil 
and chisel, whose works, nevertheless, both had 
seen. That Lord Byron, though despising the im- 
posture and jargon with which the worship of the 
Arts is, like other worships, clogged and mystified, 
felt deeply, more especially in sculpture, whatever 
imaged forth true grace and energy, appears from 
passages of his poetry, which are in every body's 
memory, and not a line of which but thrills alive 
with a sense of grandeur and beauty such as it 
never entered into the capacity of a mere connois- 
seur even to conceive. 

In reference to this subject, as we were convers- 
ing one day after dinner about the various collec- 
tions I had visited that morning, on my saying that 
fearful as I was, at all times, of praising any picture, 
lest I should draw upon myself the connoisseur's 
sneer for my pains, I would yet, to him, venture to 

own that I had seen a picture at Milan which 

" The Hagar ! " he exclaimed, eagerly interrupting 
me ; and it was in fact this very picture I was 
about to mention as having wakened in me, by 
the truth of its expression, more real emotion than 

to the impressions left upon Milton's mind by the works of 
art he had seen in Italy, are hardly worth a thought. 

Though it may be conceded that Dante was an admirer of 
the Arts, his recommendation of the Apocalypse to Giotto, as 
a source of subjects for the pencil, shows, at least, what indif- 
ferent judges poets are, in general, of the sort of fancies fittest 
to be embodied by the painter. 

P 2 


any I had yet seen among the chefs-d'oeuvre of 
Venice. It was with no small degree of pride and 
pleasure I now discovered that my noble friend had 
felt equally with myself the affecting mixture of sor- 
row and reproach with which the woman's eyes tell 
the whole story in that picture. 

On the second evening of my stay, Lord Byron 
having, as before, left us for La Mira, I most will- 
ingly accepted the offer of Mr. Scott to introduce 
me to the conversazioni of the two celebrated ladies, 
with whose names, as leaders of Venetian fashion, 
the tourists to Italy have made every body acquaint- 
ed. To the Countess A * *'s parties Lord Byron 
had chiefly confined himself during the first winter 
he passed at Venice ; but the tone of conversation 
at these small meetings being much too learned for 
his tastes, he was induced, the following year, to 
discontinue his attendance at them, and chose, in 
preference, the less erudite, but more easy, society 
of the Countess B * *. Of the sort of learning some- 
times displayed by the Cl blue" visitants at Madame 
A * *'s, a circumstance mentioned by the noble 
poet himself may afford some idea. The conversation 
happening to turn, one evening, upon the statue of 
Washington, by Canova, which had been just ship- 
ped off for the United States, Madame A * *, 
who was then engaged in compiling a Description 
llaisonnee of Canova's works, and was anxious for 
information respecting the subject of this statue, re- 
quested that some of her learned guests would detail 
to her all they knew of him. This task a Signor * * 
(author of a book on Geography and Statistics) un- 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 213 

dertook to perform, and, after some other equally 
sage and authentic details, concluded by informing 
her that "Washington was killed in a duel by 
Burke." " What," exclaimed Lord Byron, as he 
stood biting his lips with impatience during this con- 
versation, " what, in the name of folly, are you all 
thinking of?" for he now recollected the famous 
duel between Hamilton and Colonel Burr, whom, it 
was evident, this learned worthy had confounded 
with Washington and Burke ! 

In addition to the motives easily conceivable for 
exchanging such a society for one that offered, at 
least, repose from such erudite efforts, there was also 
another cause more immediately leading to the dis- 
continuance of his visits to Madame A * *. This 
lady, who has been sometimes honoured with the 
title of " The De Stael of Italy," had written a book 
called " Portraits," containing sketches of the cha- 
racters of various persons of note ; and it being her 
intention to introduce Lord Byron into this assem- 
blage, she had it intimated to his Lordship that an 
article in which his portraiture had been attempted 
was to appear in a new edition she was about to pub- 
lish of her work. It was expected, of course, that 
this intimation would awaken in him some desire to 
see the sketch ; but, on the contrary, he was provok- 
ing enough not to manifest the least symptoms of 
curiosity. Again and again was the same hint, with 
as little success, conveyed ; till, at length, on finding 
that no impression could be produced in this manner, 
a direct offer was made, in Madame A * *'s own 
name, to submit the article to his perusal. He 
p 3 

214 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

could now contain himself no longer. With more 
sincerity than politeness, he returned for answer to 
the lady, that he was by no means ambitious of ap- 
pearing in her work ; that, from the shortness, as 
well as the distant nature of their acquaintance, it 
was impossible she could have qualified herself to 
be his portrait-painter, and that, in short, she could 
not oblige him more than by committing the article 
to the flames. 

Whether the tribute thus unceremoniously treated 
ever met the eyes of Lord Byron, I know not ; but 
he could hardly, I think, had he seen it, have escaped 
a slight touch of remorse at having thus spurned 
from him a portrait drawn in no unfriendly spirit, 
and, though affectedly expressed, seizing some of the 
less obvious features of his character, as, for in- 
stance, that diffidence so little to be expected from 
a career like his, with the discriminating niceness of 
a female hand. The following are extracts from 
this Portrait : 

" < Toi, dont le monde encore ignore le vrai nom, 
Esprit rnyst^rieux, Mortel, Ange, ou Dmon, 
Qui que tu sois, Byron, bon ou fatal ge"nie, 
J'aime de tes conceits la sauvage harmonie.' 


" It would be to little purpose to dwell upon the 
mere beauty of a countenance in which the expres- 
sion of an extraordinary mind was so conspicuous. 
What serenity was seated on the forehead, adorned 
with the finest chestnut hair, light, curling, and dis- 
posed with such art, that the art was hidden in the 
imitation of most pleasing nature ! W T hat varied 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 215 

expression in his eyes ! They were of the azure 
colour of the heavens, from which they seemed to 
derive their origin. His teeth, in form, in colour, 
in transparency, resembled pearls ; but his cheeks 
were too delicately tinged with the hue of the pale 
rose. His neck, which he was in the habit of keep- 
ing uncovered as much as the usages of society per- 
mitted, seemed to have been formed in a mould, and 
was very white. His hands were as beautiful as if 
they had been the works of art. His figure left nothing 
to be desired, particularly by those who found rather 
a grace than a defect in a certain light and gentle 
undulation of the person when he entered a room, 
and of which you hardly felt tempted to enquire 
the cause. Indeed it was scarcely perceptible, 
the clothes he wore were so long. 

" He was never seen to walk through the streets 
of Venice, nor along the pleasant banks of the Brenta, 
where he spent some weeks of the summer ; and 
there are some who assert that he has never seen, 
excepting from a window, the wonders of the * Piazza 
di San Marco ; ' so powerful in him was the desire 
of not showing himself to be deformed in any part 
of his person. I, however, believe that he has often 
gazed on those wonders, but in the late and solitary 
hour, when the stupendous edifices which sur- 
rounded him, illuminated by the soft and placid 
light of the moon, appeared a thousand times more 

" His face appeared tranquil like the ocean on a 
fine spring morning ; but, like it, in an instant be- 
came changed into the tempestuous and terrible, if 
p 4 



a passion, (a passion did I say ?) a thought, a word, 
occurred to disturb his mind. His eyes then lost 
all their sweetness, and sparkled so that it became 
difficult to look on them. So rapid a change would 
not have been thought possible ; but it was impos- 
sible to avoid acknowledging that the natural state 
of his mind was the tempestuous. 

" What delighted him greatly one day annoyed 
him the next ; and whenever he appeared constant 
in the practice of any habits, it arose merely from 
the indifference, not to say contempt, in which he 
held them all : whatever they might be, they were 
not worthy that he should occupy his thoughts with 
them. His heart was highly sensitive, and suffered 
itself to be governed in an extraordinary degree by 
sympathy ; but his imagination carried him away, 
and spoiled every thing. He believed in presages, 
and delighted in the recollection that he held this 
belief in common with Napoleon. It appeared that, 
in proportion as his intellectual education was culti- 
vated, his moral education was neglected, and that 
he never suffered himself to know or observe other 
restraints than those imposed by his inclinations. 
Nevertheless, who could believe that he had a con- 
stant, and almost infantine timidity, of which the 
evidences were so apparent as to render its existence 
indisputable, notwithstanding the difficulty experi- 
enced in associating with Lord Byron a sentiment 
which had the appearance of modesty? Conscious 
as he was that, wherever he presented himself, all 
eyes were fixed on him, and all lips, particularly 
those of the women, were opened to say, * There he 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 217 

is, that is Lord Byron,' he necessarily found him- 
self in the situation of an actor obliged to sustain a 
character, and to render an account, not to others 
(for about them he gave himself no concern), but to 
himself, of his every action and word. This occa- 
sioned him a feeling of uneasiness which was obvious 
to every one. 

" He remarked on a certain subject (which in 1814 
was the topic of universal discourse) that * the world 
was worth neither the trouble taken in its conquest, 
nor the regret felt at its loss,' which saying (if the 
worth of an expression could ever equal that of many 
and great actions) would almost show the thoughts 
and feelings of Lord Byron to be more stupendous 
and unmeasured than those of him respecting whom 
he spoke. 

" His gymnastic exercises were sometimes violent, 
and at others almost nothing. His body, like his 
spirit, readily accommodated itself to all his inclina- 
tions. During an entire winter, he went out every 
morning alone to row himself to the island of Arme- 
nians, (a small island situated in the midst of a tran- 
quil lake, and distant from Venice about half a 
league,) to enjoy the society of those learned and 
hospitable monks, and to learn their difficult lan- 
guage ; and, in the evening, entering again into his 
gondola, he went, but only for a couple of hours, 
into company. A second winter, whenever the 
water of the lake was violently agitated, he was 
observed to cross it, and landing on the nearest terra, 
firma, to fatigue at least two horses with riding. 

" No one ever heard him utter a word of French, 

218 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

although he was perfectly conversant with that lan- 
guage. He hated the nation and its modern litera- 
ture; in like manner, he held the modern Italian 
literature in contempt, and said it possessed but one 
living author, a restriction which I know not whe- 
ther to term ridiculous, or false and injurious. His 
voice was sufficiently sweet and flexible. He spoke 
with much suavity, if not contradicted, but rather 
addressed himself to his neighbour than to the entire 

" Very little food sufficed him ; and he preferred fish 
to flesh for this extraordinary reason, that the latter, 
he said, rendered him ferocious. He disliked seeing 
women eat ; and the cause of this extraordinary an- 
tipathy must be sought in the dread he always had, 
that the notion he loved to cherish of their perfec- 
tion and almost divine nature might be disturbed. 
Having always been governed by them, it would 
seem that his very self-love was pleased to take 
refuge in the idea of their excellence, a sentiment 
which he knew how (God knows how) to reconcile 
with the contempt in which, shortly afterwards, almost 
with the appearance of satisfaction, he seemed to 
hold them. But contradictions ought not to surprise 
us in characters like Lord Byron's ; and then, who 
does not know that the slave holds in detestation 
his ruler ? 

" Lord Byron disliked his countrymen, but only 
because he knew that his morals were held in con- 
tempt by them. The English, themselves rigid 
observers of family duties, could not pardon him the 
neglect of his, nor his trampling on principles; there- 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 219 

fore neither did he like being presented to them, nor 
did they, especially when they had their wives with 
them, like to cultivate his acquaintance. Still there 
was a strong desire in all of them to see him, and 
the women in particular, who did not dare to look 
at him but by stealth, said in an under voice, What 
a pity it is ! ' If, however, any of his compatriots 
of exalted rank and of high reputation came forward 
to treat him with courtesy, he showed himself 
obviously flattered by it, and was greatly pleased 
with such association. It seemed that to the wound 
which remained always open in his ulcerated heart 
such soothing attentions were as drops of healing 
balm, which comforted him. 

" Speaking of his marriage, a delicate subject, 
but one still agreeable to him, if it was treated in a 
friendly voice, he was greatly moved, and said it 
had been the innocent cause of all his errors and all 
his griefs. Of his wife he spoke with much respect 
and affection. He said she was an illustrious lady, 
distinguished for the qualities of her heart and un- 
derstanding, and that all the fault of their cruel 
separation lay with himself. Now, was such lan- 
guage dictated by justice or by vanity ? Does it 
not bring to mind the saying of Julius, that the wife 
of Caesar must not even be suspected ? What vanity 
in that saying of Caesar I In fact, if it had not been 
from vanity, Lord Byron would have admitted this 
to no one. Of his young daughter, his dear Ada, 
he spoke with great tenderness, and seemed to be 
pleased at the great sacrifice he had made in leaving 
her to comfort her mother. The intense hatred he 

220 NOTICES OF THE 1819 

bore his mother-in-law, and a sort of Euryclea of 
Lady Byron, two women to whose influence he, in a 
great measure, attributed her estrangement from him, 
demonstrated clearly how painful the separation 
was to him, notwithstanding some bitter pleasantries 
which occasionally occur in his writings against her 
also, dictated rather by rancour than by indifference.'* 

From the time of his misunderstanding with 
Madame A * * *, the visits of the noble poet were 
transferred to the house of the other great rallying 
point of Venetian society, Madame B * * *, a lady 
in whose manners, though she had long ceased to 
be young, there still lingered much of that attaching 
charm, which a youth passed in successful efforts to 
please seldom fails to leave behind. That those 
powers of pleasing, too, were not yet gone, the 
fidelity of, at least, one devoted admirer testified ; 
nor is she supposed to have thought it impossible 
that Lord Byron himself might yet be linked on at 
the end of that long chain of lovers, which had, 
through so many years, graced the triumphs of her 
beauty. If, however, there could have been, in any 
case, the slightest chance of such a conquest, she 
had herself completely frustrated it by introducing 
her distinguished visiter to Madame Guiccioli, 
a step by which she at last lost, too, even the orna- 
ment of his presence at her parties, as in conse- 
quence of some slighting conduct, on her part, 
towards his " Dama," he discontinued his attendance 
at her evening assemblies, and at the time of my 
visit to Venice had given up society altogether. 


I could soon collect, from the tone held respecting 
his conduct at Madame B * * *'s, how subversive of 
all the morality of intrigue they considered the late 
step of which he had been guilty in withdrawing his 
acknowledged " Arnica" from the protection of her 
husband, and placing her, at once, under the same 
roof with himself. " You must really (said the 
hostess herself to me) scold your friend ; till this 
unfortunate affair, he conducted himself so well ! " 
a eulogy on his previous moral conduct which, when 
I reported it the following day to my noble host, 
provoked at once a smile and sigh from his lips. 

The chief subject of our conversation, when alone, 
was his marriage, and the load of obloquy which it 
had brought upon him. He was most anxious to 
know the worst that had been alleged of his con- 
duct ; and as this was our first opportunity of speak- 
ing together on the subject, I did not hesitate to 
put his candour most searchingly to the proof, not 
only by enumerating the various charges I had 
heard brought against him by others, but by specify- 
ing such portions of these charges as I had been 
inclined to think not incredible myself. To all this 
he listened with patience, and answered with the 
most unhesitating frankness, laughing to scorn the 
tales of unmanly outrage related of him, but, at the 
same time, acknowledging that there had been in his 
conduct but too much to blame and regret, and, 
stating one or two occasions, during his domestic life, 
when he had been irritated into letting " the breath 
of bitter words" escape him, words, rather those 
of the unquiet spirit that possessed him than his 

222 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

own, and which he now evidently remembered with 
a degree of remorse and pain which might well have 
entitled them to be forgotten by others. 

It was, at the same time, manifest, that, whatever 
admissions he might be inclined to make respecting 
his own delinquencies, the inordinate measure of the 
punishment dealt out to him had sunk deeply into 
his mind, and, with the usual effect of such injustice, 
drove him also to be unjust himself; so much so, 
indeed, as to impute to the quarter, to which he now 
traced all his ill fate, a feeling of fixed hostility to 
himself, which would not rest, he thought, even at 
his grave, but continue to persecute his memory as 
it was now embittering his life. So strong was this 
impression upon him, that during one of our few 
intervals of seriousness, he conjured me, by our 
friendship, if, as he both felt and hoped, I should 
survive him, not to let unmerited censure settle upon 
his name, but. while I surrendered him up to con- 
demnation, where he deserved it, to vindicate him 
where aspersed. 

How groundless and wrongful were these appre- 
hensions, the early death which he so often predicted 
and sighed for has enabled us, unfortunately but too 
soon, to testify. So far from having to defend him 
against any such assailants, an unworthy voice or 
two, from persons more injurious as friends than as 
enemies, is all that I find raised in hostility to his 
name ; while by none, I am inclined to think, would 
a generous amnesty over his grave be more readily 
and cordially concurred in than by her, among whose 
numerous virtues a forgiving charity towards himself 


was the only one to which she had not yet taught 
him to render justice. 

I have already had occasion to remark, in another 
part of this work, that with persons who, like Lord 
Byron, live centred in their own tremulous web of 
sensitiveness, those friends of whom they see least, 
and who, therefore, least frequently come in collision 
with them in those every-day realities from which 
such natures shrink so morbidly, have proportion- 
ately a greater chance of retaining a hold on their 
affections. There is, however, in long absence from 
persons of this temperament, another description of 
risk hardly less, perhaps, to be dreaded. If the 
station a friend holds in their hearts is, in near 
intercourse with them, in danger from their sensi- 
tiveness, it is almost equally, perhaps, at the mercy 
of their too active imaginations during absence. 
On this very point, I recollect once expressing my 
apprehensions to Lord Byron, in a passage of a 
letter addressed to him but a short time before his 
death, of which the following is, as nearly as I can 
recall it, the substance : " When with you, I feel 
sure of you ; but, at a distance, one is often a little 
afraid of being made the victim, all of a sudden, of 
some of those fanciful suspicions, which, like meteoric 
stones, generate themselves (God knows how) in the 
upper regions of your imagination, and come clatter- 
ing down upon our heads, some fine sunny day, when 
we are least expecting such an invasion." 

In writing thus to him, I had more particularly in 
recollection a fancy of this kind respecting myself, 
which he had, not long before my present visit to 

224? NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

him at Venice, taken into his head. In a ludicrous, 
and now, perhaps, forgotten publication of mine, 
giving an account of the adventures of an English 
family in Paris, there had occurred the following 
description of the chief hero of the tale : 

" A fine, sallow, sublime sort of Werter-faced man, 
With mustachios which gave (what we read of so oft) 
The dear Corsair expression, half savage, half soft, 
As hyaenas in love may be fancied to look, or 
A something between Abelard and old Blucher." 

On seeing this doggrel, my noble friend, as I 
might, indeed, with a little more thought, have an- 
ticipated, conceived the notion that I meant to 
throw ridicule on his whole race of poetic heroes, 
and accordingly, as I learned from persons then in 
frequent intercourse with him, flew out into one of 
his fits of half humorous rage against me. This he 
now confessed himself, and, in laughing over the 
circumstance with me, owned that he had even 
gone so far as, in his first moments of wrath, to 
contemplate some little retaliation for this perfidious 
hit at his heroes. " But when I recollected," said 
he, " what pleasure it would give the whole tribe of 
blockheads and blues to see you and me turning 
out against each other, I gave up the idea." He 
was, indeed, a striking instance of what may be 
almost invariably observed, that they who best know 
how to wield the weapon of ridicule themselves, are 
the most alive to its power in the hands of others. 
I remember, one day, in the year 1813, I think, 
as we were conversing together about critics and 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 225 

their influence on the public. " For my part," he 
exclaimed, " I don't care what they say of me, so 
they don't quiz me." " Oh, you need not fear 
that," I answered, with something, perhaps, of a 
half suppressed smile on my features, " nobody 
could quiz you? " You could, you villain !" he re- 
plied, clenching his hand at me, and looking, at the 
same time, with comic earnestness into my face. 

Before I proceed any farther with my own recol- 
lections, I shall here take the opportunity of extract- 
ing some curious particulars respecting the habits 
and mode of life of my friend while at Venice, from 
an account obligingly furnished me by a gentleman 
who long resided in that city, and who, during the 
greater part of Lord Byron's stay, lived on terms of 
the most friendly intimacy with him. 

" I have often lamented that I kept no notes of 
his observations during our rides and aquatic ex* 
cursions. Nothing could exceed the vivacity and 
variety of his conversation, or the cheerfulness of 
his manner. His remarks on the surrounding ob- 
jects were always original : and most particularly 
striking was the quickness with which he availed 
himself of every circumstance, however trifling in 
itself, and such as would have escaped the notice of 
almost any other person, to carry his point in such 
arguments as we might chance to be engaged in. 
He was feelingly alive to the beauties of nature, 
and took great interest in any observations, which, 
as a dabbler in the arts, I ventured to make upon 
the effects of light and shadow, or the changes pro- 


226 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

duced in the colour of objects by every variation in 
the atmosphere. 

" The spot where we usually mounted our horses 
had been a Jewish cemetery; but the French, during 
their occupation of Venice, had thrown down the 
enclosures, and levelled all the tombstones with the 
ground, in order that they might not interfere with 
the fortifications upon the Lido, under the guns of 
which it was situated. To this place, as it was known 
to be that where he alighted from his gondola and 
met his horses, the curious amongst our country 
people, who were anxious to obtain a glimpse of 
him, used to resort ; and it was amusing in the 
extreme to witness the excessive coolness with 
which ladies, as well as gentlemen, would advance 
within a very few paces of him, eyeing him, some 
with their glasses, as they would have done a statue 
in a museum, or the wild beasts at Exeter 'Change. 
However flattering this might be to a man's vanity, 
Lord Byron, though he bore it very patiently, ex- 
pressed himself, as I believe he really was, exces- 
sively annoyed at it. 

" I have said that our usual ride was along the 
sea-shore, and that the spot where we took horse, 
and of course dismounted, had been a cemetery. It 
will readily be believed, that some caution was ne- 
cessary in riding over the broken tombstones, and 
that it was altogether an awkward place for horses 
to pass. As the length of our ride was not very 
great, scarcely more than six miles in all, we seldom 
rode fast, that we might at least prolong its dura- 
tion ; and enjoy as much as possible the refreshing 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 227 

air of the Adriatic. One day, as we were leisurely 
returning homewards, Lord Byron, all at once, and 
without saying any thing to me, set spurs to his 
horse and started off at full gallop, making the 
greatest haste he could to get to his gondola. I 
could not conceive what fit had seized him, and had 
some difficulty in keeping even within a reasonable 
distance of him, while I looked around me to dis- 
cover, if I were able, what could be the cause of 
his unusual precipitation. At length I perceived at 
some distance two or three gentlemen, who were 
running along the opposite side of the island nearest 
the Lagoon, parallel with him, towards his gondola, 
hoping to get there in time to see him alight ; and 
a race actually took place between them, he en- 
deavouring to outstrip them. In this he, in fact, 
succeeded, and, throwing himself quickly from his 
horse, leapt into his gondola, of which he hastily 
closed the blinds, ensconcing himself in a corner so 
as not to be seen. For my own part, not choosing 
to risk my neck over the ground I have spoken of, I 
followed more leisurely as soon as I came amongst 
the gravestones, but got to the place of embarkation 
just at the same moment with my curious country- 
men, and in time to witness their disappointment at 
having had their run for nothing. I found him ex- 
ulting in his success in outstripping them. He 
expressed in strong terms his annoyance at what he 
called their impertinence, whilst I could not but 
laugh at his impatience, as well as at the mortifi- 
cation of the unfortunate pedestrians, whose eager- 
ness to see him, I said, was, in my opinion, highly 
Q 2 

228 . NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

flattering to him. That, he replied, depended on 
the feeling with which they came ; and he had not 
the vanity to believe that they were influenced by 
any admiration of his character or of his abilities, 
but that they were impelled merely by idle curio- 
sity. Whether it was so or not, I cannot help 
thinking that if they had been of the other sex, he 
would not have been so eager to escape from their 
observation, as in that case he would have repaid 
them glance for glance. 

" The curiosity that was expressed by all classes 
of travellers to see him, and the eagerness with 
which they endeavoured to pick up any anecdotes 
of his mode of life, were carried to a length which 
will hardly be credited. It formed the chief subject 
of their enquiries of the gondoliers who conveyed 
them from terra firma to the floating city; and these 
people, who are generally loquacious, were not at all 
backward in administering to the taste and humours 
of their passengers, relating to them the most extra- 
vagant and often unfounded stories. They took care 
to point out the house where he lived, and to give 
such hints of his movements as might afford them 
an opportunity of seeing him. Many of the English 
visiters, under pretext of seeing his house, in which 
there were no paintings of any consequence, nor, 
besides himself, any thing worthy of notice, contrived 
to obtain admittance through the cupidity of his ser- 
vants, and with the most barefaced impudence forced 
their way even into his bedroom, in the hopes of 
seeing him. Hence arose, in a great measure, his 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 229 

bitterness towards them, which he has expressed in 
a note to one of his poems, on the occasion of some 
unfounded remark made upon him by an anonymous 
traveller in Italy ; and it certainly appears well cal- 
culated to foster that cynicism which prevails in his 
latter works more particularly, and which, as well as 
the misanthropical expressions that occur in those 
which first raised his reputation, I do not believe to 
have been his natural feeling. Of this I am certain, 
that I never witnessed greater kindness than in Lord 

" The inmates of his family were all extremely 
attached to him, and would have endured any thing 
on his account. He was indeed culpably lenient to 
them ; for even when instances occurred of their 
neglecting their duty, or taking an undue advantage 
of his good-nature, he rather bantered than spoke 
seriously to them upon it, and could not bring him- 
self to discharge them, even when he had threatened 
to do so. An instance occurred within my knowledge 
of his unwillingness to act harshly towards a trades- 
man whom he had materially assisted, not only by 
lending him money, but by forwarding his interest in 
every way that he could. Notwithstanding repeated 
acts of kindness on Lord Byron's part, this man 
robbed and cheated him in the most barefaced man- 
ner ; and when at length Lord Byron was induced to 
sue him at law for the recovery of his money, the 
only punishment he inflicted upon him, when sen- 
tence against him was passed, was to put him in pri- 
son for one week, and then to let him out again, 
Q 3 



although his debtor had subjected him to a consider- 
able additional expense, by dragging him into all the 
different courts of appeal, and that he never at last 
recovered one halfpenny of the money owed to him. 
Upon this subject he writes to me from Ravenna, 
< If * * is in (prison), let him out ; if out, put him in 
for a week, merely for a lesson, and give him a good 

" He was also ever ready to assist the distressed, 
and he was most unostentatious in his charities: for 
besides considerable sums which he gave away to 
applicants at his own house, he contributed largely 
by weekly and monthly allowances to persons whom 
he had never seen, and who, as the money reached 
them by other hands, did not even know who was 
their benefactor. One or two instances might be 
adduced where his charity certainly bore an appear- 
ance of ostentation ; one particularly, when he sent 
fifty louis d'or to a poor printer whose house had 
been burnt to the ground, and all his property de- 
stroyed ; but even this was not unattended with ad- 
vantage ; for it in a manner compelled the Austrian 
authorities to do something for the poor sufferer, 
which I have no hesitation in saying they would 
not have done otherwise ; and I attribute it entirely 
to the publicity of his donation, that they allowed 
the man the use of an unoccupied house belonging 
to the government until he could rebuild his own, 
or re-establish his business elsewhere. Other in- 
stances might be perhaps discovered where his 
liberalities proceeded from selfish, and not very 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 231 

worthy motives* ; but these are rare, and it would 
be unjust in the extreme to assume them as proofs 
of his character." 

It has been already mentioned that, in writing to 
my noble friend to announce my coming, I had ex- 
pressed a hope that he would be able to go on with 
me to Rome ; and I had the gratification of finding, 
on my arrival, that he was fully prepared to enter 
into this plan. On becoming acquainted, however, 
with all the details of his present situation, I so far 
sacrificed my own wishes and pleasure as to advise 
strongly that he should remain at La Mira. In the 
first place, I saw reason to apprehend that his leav- 
ing Madame Guiccioli at this crisis might be the 
means of drawing upon him the suspicion of neglect- 
ing, if not actually deserting, a young person who 
had just sacrificed so much to her devotion for him, 
and whose position, at this moment, between the 
Count and Lord Byron, it required all the generous 
prudence of the latter to shield from shame or fall. 
There had just occurred too, as it appeared to me, 
a most favourable opening for the retrieval of, at 
least, the imprudent part of the transaction, by re- 
placing the lady instantly under her husband's pro- 
tection, and thus enabling her still to retain that 
station in society which, in such society, nothing 
but such imprudence could have endangered. 

This latter hope had been suggested by a letter he 

* The writer here, no doubt, alludes to such questionable 
liberalities as those exercised towards the husbands of his tw0 
favourites, Madame S * * and the Fornarina. 
Q 4 

232 , NOTICES OF THE 1819, 

one day showed me, (as we were dining together alone, 
at the well-known Pellegrino,) which had that morn- 
ing been received by the Contessa from her husband, 
and the chief object of which was not to express 
any censure of her conduct, but to suggest that she 
should prevail upon her noble admirer to transfer 
into his keeping a sum of 1000/., which was then 
lying, if I remember right, in the hands of Lord 
Byron's banker at Ravenna, but which the worthy 
Count professed to think would be more advantage- 
ously placed in his own. Security, the writer added, 
would be given, and five per cent, interest allowed ; 
as to accept of the sum on any other terms he should 
hold to be an " avvilimento" to him. Though, as 
regarded the lady herself, who has since proved, by 
a most noble sacrifice, how perfectly disinterested 
were her feelings throughout*, this, trait of so wholly 

* The circumstance here alluded to may be most clearly, 
perhaps, communicated to my readers through the medium of 
the following extract from a letter which Mr. Barry (the friend 
and banker of Lord Byron) did me the favour of addressing 
to me, soon after his Lordship's death : " When Lord Byron 
went to Greece, he gave me orders to advance money to 
Madame G * * ; but that lady would never consent to receive 
any. His Lordship had also told me that he meant to leave his 
will in my hands, and that there would be a bequest in it of 
10,000/. to Madame G * *. He mentioned this circumstance 
also to Lord Blessington. When the melancholy news of his 
death reached me, I took for granted that this will would be 
found among the sealed papers he had left with me ; but there 
iras no such instrument. I immediately then wrote to 
Madame G * *, enquiring if she knew any thing concerning it, 
and mentioning, at the same time, what his Lordship had said 
fts to the legacy. To this the lady replied, that he had fre- 



opposite a character in her lord must have still 
further increased her disgust at returning to him, 
yet so important did it seem, as well for her friend's 
sake as her own, to retrace, while there was yet 
time, their last imprudent step, that even the sacri- 
fice of this sum, which I saw would materially facili- 
tate such an arrangement, did not appear to me by 
any means too high a price to pay for it. On this 
point, however, my noble friend entirely differed 
with me ; and nothing could be more humorous 
and amusing than the manner in which, in his 
newly assumed character of a lover of money, he 
dilated on the many virtues of a thousand pounds, 
and his determination not to part with a single one 
of them to Count Guiccioli. Of his confidence, too, 
in his own power of extricating himself from this 
difficulty he spoke with equal gaiety and humour ; 
and Mr. Scott, who joined our party after dinner, 
having taken the same view of the subject as I did, 
he laid a wager of two sequins with that gentleman, 
that, without any such disbursement, he would yet 
bring all right again, and " save the lady and the 
money too." 

quently spoken to her on the same subject, but that she had 
always cut the conversation short, as it was a topic she by no 
means liked to hear him speak upon. In addition, she ex- 
pressed a wish that no such will as I had mentioned would be 
found ; as her circumstances were already sufficiently inde- 
pendent, and the world might put a wrong construction on her 
attachment, should it appear that her fortunes were, in any 
degree, bettered by it." 

234- NOTICES OJF THE 1819. 

It is indeed, certain, that he had at this time 
taken up the whim (for it hardly deserves a more 
serious name) of minute and constant watchfulness 
over his expenditure ; and, as most usually happens, 
it was with the increase of his means that this in- 
creased sense of the value of money came. The 
first symptom I saw of this new fancy of his was 
the exceeding joy which he manifested on my pre- 
senting to him a rouleau of twenty Napoleons, which 
Lord K * * d, to whom he had, on some occasion, 
lent that sum, had intrusted me with, at Milan, to 
deliver into his hands. With the most joyous and 
diverting eagerness, he tore open the paper, and, in 
counting over the sum, stopped frequently to con- 
gratulate himself on the recovery of it. 

Of his household frugalities I speak but on the 
authority of others ; but it is not difficult to conceive 
that, with a restless spirit like his, which delighted 
always in having something to contend with, and 
which, but a short time before, " for want," as he 
said, " of something craggy to break upon," had 
tortured itself with the study of the Armenian 
language, he should, in default of all better excite- 
ment, find a sort of stir and amusement in the task 
of contesting, inch by inch, every encroachment of 
expense, and endeavouring to suppress what he 
himself calls 

" That climax of all earthly ills, 
The inflammation of our weekly bills. " 

In truth, his constant recurrence to the praise 
of avarice in Don Juan, and the humorous zest with 


which he delights to dwell on it, shows how new- 
fangled, as well as how far from serious, was his 
adoption of this " good old-gentlemanly vice." In 
the same spirit he had, a short time before my arrival 
at Venice, established a hoarding-box, with a slit in 
the lid, into which he occasionally put sequins, and, 
at stated periods, opened it to contemplate his 
treasures. His own ascetic style of living enabled 
him, as far as himself was concerned, to gratify this 
taste for economy in no ordinary degree, his 
daily bill of fare, when the Margarita was his com- 
panion, consisting, I have been assured, of but four 
beccafichi, of which the Fornarina eat three, leaving 
even him hungry. 

That his parsimony, however (if this new phasis 
of his ever- shifting character is to be called by such 
a name), was very far from being of that kind which 
Bacon condemns, as " withholding men from works 
of liberality," is apparent from all that is known of 
his munificence, at this very period, some par- 
ticulars of which, from a most authentic source, 
have just been cited, proving amply that while, for 
the indulgence of a whim, he kept one hand closed, 
he gave free course to his generous nature by dis- 
pensing lavishly from the other. It should be re- 
membered, too, that as long as money shall continue 
to be one of the great sources of power, so long will 
they who seek influence over their fellow-men attach 
value to it as an instrument ; and the more lowly 
they are inclined to estimate the disinterestedness 
of the human heart, the more available and precious 
will they consider the talisman that gives such 


power over it. Hence, certainly, it is not among 
those who have thought highest of mankind that 
the disposition to avarice has most generally dis- 
played itself. In Swift the love of money was strong 
and avowed ; and to Voltaire the same propensity 
was also frequently imputed, on about as sufficient 
grounds, perhaps, as to Lord Byron. 

On the day preceding that of my departure from 
Venice, my noble host, on arriving from La Mira to 
dinner, told me, with all the glee of a schoolboy who 
had been just granted a holiday, that, as this was my 
last evening, the Contessa had given him leave to 
" make a night of it," and that accordingly he would 
not only accompany me to the opera, but we should 
sup together at some cafe (as in the old times) after- 
wards. Observing a volume in his gondola, with a 
number of paper marks between the leaves, I en- 
quired of him what it was ? " Only a book," he 
answered, " from which I am trying to crib, as I do 
wherever I can * ; and that's the way I get the 
character of an original poet." On taking it up and 
looking into it, I exclaimed, " Ah, my old friend, 
Agathon!"f "What!" he cried, archly, "you 
have been beforehand with me there, have you ? " 

Though in imputing to himself premeditated 
plagiarism, he was, of course, but jesting, it was, I 
am inclined to think, his practice, when engaged in 
the composition of any work, to excite thus his vein 

* This will remind the reader of Moliere's avowal in speaking 
of wit : C'est mon bien, et je le prends partout ou je le 

f The History of Agathon, by Wieland. 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 237 

by the perusal of others, on the same subject or 
plan, from which the slightest hint caught by his 
imagination, as he read, was sufficient to kindle 
there such a train of thought as, but for that spark, 
had never been awakened, and of which he himself 
soon forgot the source. In the present instance, the 
inspiration he sought was of no very elevating nature, 
the anti-spiritual doctrines of the Sophist in this 
Romance * being what chiefly, I suspect, attracted 
his attention to its pages, as not unlikely to supply 
him with fresh argument and sarcasm for those de- 
preciating views of human nature and its destiny, 

Between Wieland, the author of this Romance, and Lord 
Byron, may be observed some of those generic points of re- 
semblance which it is so interesting to trace in the characters 
of men of genius. The German poet, it is said, never perused 
any work that made a strong impression upon him, without 
being stimulated to commence one, himself, on the same topic 
and plan ; and in Lord Byron the imitative principle was 
almost equally active, there being few of his poems that 
might not, in the same manner, be traced to the strong impulse 
given to his imagination by the perusal of some work that had 
just before interested him. In the history, too, of their lives 
and feelings, there was a strange and painful coincidence, 
the revolution that took place in all Wieland's opinions, from 
the Platonism and romance of his youthful days, to the ma- 
terial and Epicurean doctrines that pervaded all his maturer 
works, being chiefly, it is supposed, brought about by the 
shock his heart had received from a disappointment of its 
affections in early life. Speaking of the illusion of this first, 
passion, in one of his letters, he says, " It is one for which 
no joys, no honours, no gifts of fortune, not even wisdom itself 
can afford an equivalent, and which, when it has once vanished, 
returns no more." 

238 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

which he was now, with all the wantonness of un- 
bounded genius, enforcing in Don Juan. 

Of this work he was, at the time of my visit to 
him, writing the third Canto, and before dinner, one 
day, read me two or three hundred lines of it; 
beginning with the stanzas " Oh Wellington," &c. 
which at that time formed the opening of this third 
Canto, but were afterwards reserved for the com- 
mencement of the ninth. My opinion of the poem, 
both as regarded its talent and its mischief, he had 
already been made acquainted with, from my having 
been one of those, his Committee, as he called us, 
to whom, at his own desire, the manuscript of 
the two first Cantos had been submitted, and who, 
as the reader has seen, angered him not a little by 
deprecating the publication of it. In a letter which 
I, at that time, wrote to him on the subject, after 
praising the exquisite beauty of the scenes between 
Juan and Haidee, I ventured to say, " Is it not odd 
that the same licence which, in your early Satire, 
you blamed me for being guilty of on the borders of 
my twentieth year, you are now yourself (with 
infinitely greater power, and therefore infinitely 
greater mischief) indulging in after thirty ! " 

Though I now found him, in full defiance of such 
remonstrances, proceeding with this work, he had 
yet, as his own letters prove, been so far influenced 
by the general outcry against his poem, as to feel 
the zeal and zest with which he had commenced it 
considerably abated, so much so, as to render, 
ultimately, in his own opinion, the third and fourth 
Cantos much inferior in spirit to the two first. So 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 239 

sensitive, indeed, in addition to his usual abun- 
dance of this quality, did he, at length, grow on 
the subject, that when Mr. W. Bankes, who suc- 
ceeded me, as his visiter, happened to tell him, one 
day, that he had heard a Mr. Saunders (or some 
such name), then resident at Venice, declare that, 
in his opinion, " Don Juan was all Grub Street," 
such an effect had this disparaging speech upon his 
mind, (though coming from a person who, as he 
himself would have it, was " nothing but a d d salt- 
fish seller,") that, for some time after, by his own 
confession to Mr. Bankes, he could not bring himself 
to write another line of the poem ; and, one morn- 
ing, opening a drawer where the neglected manu- 
script lay, he said to his friend, " Look here this 
is all Mr. Saunders's l Grub Street/ " 

To return, however, to the details of our last 
evening together at Venice. After a dinner with 
Mr. Scott at the Pellegrino, we all went, rather late, 
to the opera, where the principal part in the Bacca- 
nali di Roma was represented by a female singer, 
whose chief claim to reputation, according to Lord 
Byron, lay in her having stilettoed one of her favourite 
lovers. In the intervals between the singing he 
pointed out to me different persons among the 
audience, to whom celebrity of various sorts, but, 
for the most part, disreputable, attached; and of 
one lady who sat near us, he related an anecdote, 
which, whether new or old, may, as creditable to 
Venetian facetiousness, be worth, perhaps, repeating. 
This lady had, it seems, been pronounced by Napo- 
leon the finest woman in Venice ; but the Venetians, 

240 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

not quite agreeing with this opinion of the great 
man, contented themselves with calling her " La 
Bella per Decreto" adding (as the Decrees always 
begin with the word " Considerando "), " Ma senza 
il Considerando." 

From the opera, in pursuance of our agreement 
to " make a night of it," we betook ourselves to a 
sort of cabaret in the Place of St. Mark, and there, 
within a few yards of the Palace of the Doges, sat 
drinking hot brandy punch, and laughing over old 
times, till the clock of St. Mark struck the second 
hour of the morning. Lord Byron then took me in 
his gondola, and, the moon being in its fullest splen- 
dour, he made the gondoliers row us to such points 
of view as might enable me to see Venice, at that 
hour, to advantage. Nothing could be more so- 
lemnly beautiful than the whole scene around, and 
I had, for the first time, the Venice of my dreams 
before me. All those meaner details which so 
offend the eye by day were now softened down by 
the moonlight into a sort of visionary indistinctness ; 
and the effect of that silent city of palaces, sleeping, 
as it were, upon the waters, in the bright stillness 
of the night, was such as could not but affect deeply 
even the least susceptible imagination. My com- 
panion saw that I was moved by it, and though 
familiar with the scene himself, seemed to give way, 
for the moment, to the same strain of feeling ; and, 
as we exchanged a few remarks suggested by that 
wreck of human glory before us, his voice, habitually 
so cheerful, sunk into a tone of mournful sweetness, 
such as I had rarely before heard from him, and 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 241 

shall not easily forget. This mood, however, was 
but of the moment ; some quick turn of ridicule soon 
carried him off into a totally different vein, and at 
about three o'clock in the morning, at the door of 
his own palazzo, we parted, laughing, as we had 
met; an agreement having been first made that I 
should take an early dinner with him next day at 
his villa, on my road to Ferrara. 

Having employed the morning of the following 
day in completing my round of sights at Venice, 
taking care to visit specially " that picture by Gior- 
gione," to which the poet's exclamation, " such a 
woman ! " * will long continue to attract all votaries 
of beauty, I took my departure from Venice, and, 
at about three o'clock, arrived at La Mira. I found 
my noble host waiting to receive me, and, in passing 
with him through the hall, saw his little Allegra, 
who, with her nursery maid, was standing there as 
if just returned from a walk. To the perverse fancy 
he had for falsifying his own character, and even 
imputing to himself faults the most alien to his 
nature, I have already frequently adverted, and had, 
on this occasion, a striking instance of it. After I 
had spoken a little, in passing, to the child, and 
made some remark on its beauty, he said to me, 

* " "Pis but a portrait of his son and wife, 

And self; but such a woman ! love in life ! " 

BEPFO, Stanza xii. 

This seems, by the way, to be an incorrect description of the 
picture, as, according to Vasari and others, Giorgione never was 
married, and died young. 


24?2 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

" Have you any notion but I suppose you have 
of what they call the parental feeling ? For myself, 
I have not the least." And yet, when that child 
died, in a year or two afterwards, he who now uttered 
this artificial speech was so overwhelmed by the 
event, that those who were about him at the time 
actually trembled for his reason ! 

A short time before dinner he left the room, and 
in a minute or two returned, carrying in his hand a 
white leather bag. " Look here," he said, holding 
it up " this would be worth something to Murray, 
though you, I dare say, would not give sixpence for 
it." "What is it?" I asked. "My Life and 
Adventures," he answered. On hearing this, I 
raised my hands in a gesture of wonder. " It is 
not a thing," he continued, " that can be published 
during my lifetime, but you may have it if you 
like there, do whatever you please with it." In 
taking the bag, and thanking him most warmly, I 
added, " This will make a nice legacy for my little 
Tom, who shall astonish the latter days of the nine- 
teenth century with it." He then added, " You 
may show it to any of our friends you think worthy 
of it:" and this is, nearly word for word, the 
whole of what passed between us on the subject. 

At dinner we were favoured with the presence of 
Madame Guiccioli, who was so obliging as to furnish 
me, at Lord Byron's suggestion, with a letter of 
introduction to her brother, Count Gamba, whom it 
was probable, they both thought, I should meet at 
Rome. This letter I never had an opportunity of 
presenting ; and as it was left open for me to read, 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 24*3 

and was, the greater part of it, I have little doubt, 
dictated by my noble friend, I may venture, without 
impropriety, to give an extract from it here ; pre- 
mising that the allusion to the " Castle," &c. refers 
to some tales respecting the cruelty of Lord Byron 
to his wife, which the young Count had heard, and, 
at this time, implicitly believed. After a few sen- 
tences of compliment to the bearer, the letter pro- 
ceeds: " He is on his way to see the wonders of 
Rome, and there is no one, I am sure, more qualified 
to enjoy them. I shall be gratified and obliged by 
your acting, as far as you can, as his guide. He is 
a friend of Lord Byron's, and much more accurately 
acquainted with his history than those who have 
related it to you. He will accordingly describe to 
you, if you ask him, the shape, the dimensions, and 
whatever else you may please to require, of that 
Castle in which he keeps imprisoned a young and in- 
nocent wife, &c. &c. My dear Pietro, whenever you 
feel inclined to laugh, do send two lines of answer 
to your sister, who loves and ever will love you 
with the greatest tenderness Teresa Guiccioli." * 

* " Egli viene per vedere le meraviglie di questa Citta, e 
sono certa che nessuno meglio di lui saprebbe gustarle. Mi 
sara grato che vi facciate sua guida come potrete, e voi poi me 
ne avrete obbligo. Egli e amico de Lord Byron sa la sua 
storia assai piii precisamente di quelli che a voi la raccontarono. 
Egli dunque vi raccontera se lo interrogherete la forma, le 
dimensioni, e tuttocio che vi piacera del Castello ove tiene im- 
prigwnata una giovane innocente sposa, &c. &c. Mio caro 
Pietro, quando ti sei bene sfogato a ridere, allora rispondi due 
righe alia tua sorella, che t' ama e t' amera sempre colla mag- 
giore tenerezza." 

R 2 

244 NOTICES OF THE 1819, 

After expressing his regret that I had not been 
able to prolong my stay at Venice, my noble friend 
said, " At least, I think, you might spare a day or 
two to go with me to Arqua. I should like," he 
continued, thoughtfully, " to visit that tomb with 
you:" then, breaking off into his usual gay tone, 
"a pair of poetical pilgrims eh, Tom, what say 
you?" That I should have declined this offer, and 
thus lost the opportunity of an excursion which 
would have been remembered, as a bright dream, 
through all my after-life, is a circumstance I never 
can think of without wonder and self-reproach. 
But the main design on which I had then set my 
mind of reaching Rome, and, if possible, Naples, 
within the limited period which circumstances al- 
lowed, rendered me far less alive than I ought to 
have been to the preciousness of the episode thus 
offered to me. 

When it was time for me to depart, he expressed 
his intention to accompany me a few miles ; and, 
ordering his horses to follow, proceeded with me in 
the carriage as far as Stra, where for the last time 
how little thinking it was to be the last ! I bade 
my kind and admirable friend farewell. 


October 22. 1819. 

" I am glad to hear of your return, but I do not 
know how to congratulate you unless you think 
differently of Venice from what I think now, and 
you thought always. I am, besides, about to renew 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 245 

your troubles by requesting you to be judge between 
Mr. E * * * and myself in a small matter of imputed 
peculation and irregular accounts on the part of that 
phoenix of secretaries. As I knew that you had 
not parted friends, at the same time that / refused 
for my own part any judgment but yours, I offered 
him his choice of any person, the least scoundrel 
native to be found in Venice, as his own umpire ; 
but he expressed himself so convinced of your im- 
partiality, that he declined any but you. This is in 
his favour. The paper within will explain to you 
the default in his accounts. You will hear his ex- 
planation, and decide if it so please you. I shall 
not appeal from the decision. 

" As he complained that his salary was insufficient, 
I determined to have his accounts examined, and 
the enclosed was the result It is all in black and 
white with documents, and I have despatched 
Fletcher to explain (or rather to perplex) the 

" I have had much civility and kindness from 
Mr. Dorville during your journey, and I thank him 

" Your letter reached me at your departure *, and 

* Mr. Hoppner, before his departure from Venice for Swit- 
zerland, had, with all the zeal of a true friend, written a letter 
to Lord Byron, entreating him " to leave Ravenna while yet 
he had a whole skin, and urging him not to risk the safety of a 
person he appeared so sincerely attached to as well as his 
own for the gratification of a momentary passion, which 
could only be a source of regret to both parties." In the same 
letter Mr. Hoppner informed him of some reports he had 
B 3 

246 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

displeased me very much : not that it might not 
be true in its statement and kind in its intention, 
but you have lived long enough to know how useless 
all such representations ever are and must be in 
cases where the passions are concerned. To reason 
with men in such a situation is like reasoning with 
a drunkard in his cups the only answer you will 
get from him is, that he is sober, and you are drunk. 

" Upon that subject we will (if you like) be 
silent. You might only say what would distress 
me without answering any purpose whatever ; and 
I have too many obligations to you to answer you 
in the same style. So that you should recollect 
that you have also that advantage over me. I hope 
to see you soon. 

" I suppose you know that they said at Venice, 
that I was arrested at Bologna as a Carbonaro 
a story about as true as their usual conversation. 
Moore has been here I lodged him in my house 
at Venice, and went to see him daily ; but I could 
not at that time quit La Mira entirely. You and I 
were not very far from meeting in Switzerland. 
With my best respects to Mrs. Hoppner, believe 
me ever and truly, &c. 

" P. S. Allegra is here in good health and 
spirits I shall keep her with me till I go to 
England, which will perhaps be in the spring. It 

heard lately at Venice, which, though possibly, he said, un- 
founded, had much increased his anxiety respecting the con- 
sequences of the connection formed by him. 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 24-7 

has just occurred to me that you may not perhaps 
like to undertake the office of judge between Mr. E. 
and your humble servant. Of course, as Mr. 
Listen (the comedian, not the ambassador) says, 
* it is all hoptional;' but I have no other resource. 
I do not wish to find him a rascal, if it can be 
avoided, and would rather think him guilty of 
carelessness than cheating. The case is this 
can I, or not, give him a character for honesty ? 
It is not my intention to continue him in my 


October 25. 1819. 

" You need not have made any excuses about 
the letter : I never said but that you might, could, 
should, or would have reason. I merely described 
my own state of inaptitude to listen to it at that 
time, and in those circumstances. Besides, you 
did not speak from your own authority but from 
what you said you had heard. Now my blood boils 
to hear an Italian speaking ill of another Italian, 
because, though they lie in particular, they speak 
truth in general by speaking ill at all ; and al- 
though they know that they are trying and wishing 
to lie, they do not succeed, merely because they 
can say nothing so bad of each other, that it may 
not, and must not be true, from the atrocity of their 
long debased national character. * 

* " Tliis language " (says Mr. Hoppner, in some remarks 
upon the above letter) " is strong, but it was the language of 

R 4 

248 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

" With regard to E., you will perceive a most 
irregular, extravagant account, without proper do- 
cuments to support it. He demanded an increase 
of salary, which made me suspect him ; he sup- 
ported an outrageous extravagance of expenditure, 
and did not like the dismission of the cook; he 
never complained of him as in duty bound at 
the time of his robberies. I can only say, that the 
house expense is now under one half of what it 
then was, as he himself admits. He charged for a 
comb eighteen francs, the real price was eight. 
He charged a passage from Fusina for a person 
named lambelli, who paid it herself, as she will 
prove if necessary. He fancies, or asserts himself, 
the victim of a domestic complot against him ; 
accounts are accounts prices are prices ; let 
him make out a fair detail. / am not prejudiced 
against him on the contrary, I supported him 
against the complaints of his wife, and of his former 
master, at a time when I could have crushed him 
like an earwig ; and if he is a scoundrel, he is the 

prejudice ; and he was rather apt thus to express the feelings of 
the moment, without troubling himself to consider how soon 
he might be induced to change them. He was at this time so 
sensitive on the subject of Madame * *, that, merely because 
some persons had disapproved of her conduct, he declaimed in 
the above manner against the whole nation. I never" (con- 
tinues Mr. Hoppner) " was partial to Venice ; but disliked it 
almost from the first month of my residence there. Yet I ex- 
perienced more kindness in that place than I ever met with in 
any country, and witnessed acts of generosity and disin- 
terestedness such as rarely are met with elsewhere." 



greatest of scoundrels, an ungrateful one. The 
truth is, probably, that he thought I was leaving 
Venice, and determined to make the most of it. 
At present he keeps bringing in account after ac- 
count^ though he had always money in hand as I 
believe you know my system was never to allow 
longer than a week's bills to run. Pray read him 
this letter I desire nothing to be concealed 
against which he may defend himself. 

" Pray how is your little boy ? and how are you ? 
I shall be up in Venice very soon, and we will be 
bilious together. I hate the place and all that it 

Yours," &c. 


" October 28. 1819. 

" I have to thank you for your letter, and your 
compliment to Don Juan. I said nothing to you 
about it, understanding that it is a sore subject 
with the moral reader, and has been the cause of a 
great row ; but I am glad you like it. I will say 
nothing about the shipwreck, except that I hope 
you think it is as nautical and technical as verse 
could admit in the octave measure. 

" The poem has not sold well, so Murray says 
* but the best judges, &c. say, &c.' so says that 
worthy man. I have never seen it in print. The 
third Canto is in advance about one hundred 
stanzas ; but the failure of the two first has weak- 
ened my estro, and it will neither be so good as the 

250 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

two former, nor completed, unless I get a little 
more riscaldato in its behalf. I understand the 
outcry was beyond every thing. Pretty cant for 
people who read Tom Jones, and Roderick Random, 
and the Bath Guide, and Ariosto, and Dryden, and 
Pope to say nothing of Little's Poems I Of 
course I refer to the morality of these works, and 
not to any pretension of mine to compete with them 
in any thing but decency. I hope yours is the Paris 
edition, and that you did not pay the London 
price. I have seen neither except in the news- 

" Pray make my respects to Mrs. H., and take 
care of your little boy. All my household have the 
fever and ague, except Fletcher, Allegra, and mysen 
(as we used to say in Nottinghamshire), and the 
horses, and Mutz, and Moretto. In the beginning 
of November, perhaps sooner, I expect to have the 
pleasure of seeing you. To-day I got drenched by 
a thunder-storm, and my horse and groom too, and 
his horse all bemired up to the middle in a cross- 
road. It was summer at noon, and at five we were 
bewintered ; but the lightning was sent perhaps to 
let us know that the summer was not yet over. It 
is queer weather for the 27th October. 

Yours," &c. 


" Venice, October 29. 1819. 

" Yours of the 15th came yesterday. I am sorry 
that you do not mention a large letter addressed to 



your care for Lady Byron, from me, at Bologna, 
two months ago. Pray tell me, was this letter 
received and forwarded ? 

" You say nothing of the vice-consulate for the 
Ravenna patrician, from which it is to be inferred 
that the thing will not be done. 

" I had written about a hundred stanzas of a 
third Canto to Don Juan, but the reception of the 
two first is no encouragement to you nor me to 

" I had also written about 600 lines of a poem, 
the Vision (or Prophecy) of Dante, the subject a view 
of Italy in the ages down to the present suppos- 
ing Dante to speak in his own person, previous to 
his death, and embracing all topics in the way of 
prophecy, like Lycophron's Cassandra ; but this and 
the other are both at a stand-still for the present. 

" I gave Moore, who is gone to Rome, my Life 
in MS., in seventy-eight folio sheets, brought down 
to 1816. But this I put into his hands for his care, 
as he has some other MSS. of mine a Journal 
kept in 1814, &c. Neither are for publication 
during my life ; but when I am cold you may do 
what you please. In the mean time, if you like to 
read them you may, and show them to anybody 
you like I care not. 

" The Life is Memoranda, and not Confessions. 
I have left out all my loves (except in a general 
way), and many other of the most important things 
(because I must not compromise other people), so 
that it is like the play of Hamlet * the part of 
Hamlet omitted by particular desire/ But you will 

252 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

find many opinions, and some fun, with a detailed 
account of my marriage, and its consequences, as 
true as a party concerned can make such account, 
for I suppose we are all prejudiced. 
- " I have never read over this Life since it was 
written, so that I know not exactly what it may 
repeat or contain. Moore and I passed some merry 
days together. 

" I probably must return for business, or in my 
way to America. Pray, did you get a letter for 
Hobhouse, who will have told you the contents? 
I understand that the Venezuelan commissioners 
had orders to treat with emigrants; now I want 
to go there. I should not make a bad South- 
American planter, and I should take my natural 
daughter, Allegra, with me, and settle. I wrote, 
at length, to Hobhouse, to get information from 
Perry, who, I suppose, is the best topographer and 
trumpeter of the new republicans. Pray write. 

" Yours ever. 

" P. S. Moore and I did nothing but laugh. He 
will tell you of * my whereabouts,' and all my pro- 
ceedings at this present ; they are as usual. You 
should not let those fellows publish false < Don 
Juans ; ' but do not put my name, because I mean 

to cut R ts up like a gourd, in the preface, if I 

continue the poem." 


" October 29. 1819. 

" The Ferrara story is of a piece with all the rest 
of the Venetian manufacture, you may judge. I 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 253 

only changed horses there since I wrote to you, 
after my visit in June last. * Convent, and ' carry 
offi quotha ! and ' girl' I should like to know who 
has been carried off, except poor dear me. I have 
been more ravished myself than anybody since the 
Trojan war ; but as to the arrest and its causes, one 
is as true as the other, and I can account for the 
invention of neither. I suppose it is some confusion 
of the tale of the F * * and of M e . Guiccioli, and 
half a dozen more ; but it is useless to unravel the 
web, when one has only to brush it away. I shall 
settle with Master E. who looks very blue at your 
in-decision, and swears that he is the best arithme- 
tician in Europe ; and so I think also, for he makes 
out two and two to be five. 

" You may see me next week. I have a horse or 
two more (five in all), and I shall repossess myself 
of Lido, and I will rise earlier, and we will go and 
shake our livers over the beach, as heretofore, if you 
like and we will make the Adriatic roar again with 
our hatred of that now empty oyster-shell, without 
its pearl, the city of Venice. 

" Murray sent me a letter yesterday : the im- 
postors have published two new third Cantos of Don 
Juan : the devil take the impudence of some 
blackguard bookseller or other therefor / Perhaps 
I did not make myself understood ; he told me the 
sale had been great, 1200 out of 1500 quarto, I be- 
lieve (which is nothing after selling 13,000 of the 
Corsair in one day) ; but that the best judges,' &c. 
had said it was very fine, and clever, and particu- 
larly good English, and poetry, and all those con- 

254- NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

solatory things, which are not, however, worth a 
single copy to a bookseller : and as to the author, of 
course I am in a d ned passion at the bad taste of 
the times, and swear there is nothing like posterity, 
who, of course, must know more of the matter than 
their grandfathers. There has been an eleventh 
commandment to the women not to read it, and, 
what is still more extraordinary, they seem not to 
have broken it. But that can be of little import to 
them, poor things, for the reading or non-reading a 
book will never * * * *. 

" Count G. comes to Venice next week, and I 
am requested to consign his wife to him, which shall 
be done. What you say of the long evenings at the 
Mira, or Venice, reminds me of what Curran said 
to Moore : ' So I hear you have married a pretty 
woman, and a very good creature, too an excellent 
creature. Pray um ! how do you pass your even- 
ings 9 ' It is a devil of a question that, and perhaps 
as easy to answer with a wife as with a mistress. 

" If you go to Milan, pray leave at least a Vice- 
Consul the only vice that will ever be wanting in 
Venice. D'Orville is a good fellow. But you shall 
go to England in the spring with me, and plant 
Mrs. Hoppner at Berne with her relations for a few 
months. I wish you had been here (at Venice, I 
mean, not the Mira) when Moore was here we 
were very merry and tipsy. He hated Venice, by the 
way, and swore it was a sad place. * 

* I beg to say that this report of my opinion of Venice 
is coloured somewhat too deeply by the feelings of the 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 255 

" So Madame Albrizzi's death is in danger poor 
woman ! Moore told me that at Geneva they had 
made a devil of a story of the Fornaretta : ' Young 
lady seduced ! subsequent abandonment ! leap 
into the Grand Canal ! ' and her being in the 
' hospital of fous in consequence ! ' I should like 
to know who was nearest being made 'fou,' and be 
d d to them I Don't you think me in the inte- 
resting character of a very ill-used gentleman ? I 
hope your little boy is well. Allegrina is flourishing 
like a pomegranate blossom. Yours," &c. 


" Venice, November 8. 1819. 

" Mr. Hoppner has lent me a copy of Don Juan/ 
Paris edition, which he tells me is read in Switzer- 
land by clergymen and ladies with considerable ap- 
probation. In the second Canto, you must alter the 
49th stanza to 

" 'Tvvas twilight, and the sunless day went down 

Over the waste of waters, like a veil 
Which if withdrawn would but disclose the frown 

Of one whose hate is mask'd but to assail ; 
Thus to their hopeless eyes the night was shown, 

And grimly darkled o'er their faces pale 
And the dim desolate deep ; twelve days had Fear 
Been their familiar, and now Death was here. 

" I have been ill these eight days with a tertian 
fever, caught in the country on horseback in a 
thunder-storm. Yesterday I had the fourth attack : 

256 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

the two last were very smart, the first day as well 
as the last being preceded by vomiting. It is the 
fever of the place and the season. I feel weakened, 
but not unwell, in the intervals, except headach 
and lassitude. 

" Count Guiccioli has arrived in Venice, and has 
presented his spouse (who had preceded him two 
months for her health and the prescriptions of Dr. 
Aglietti) with a paper of conditions, regulations of 
hours and conduct, and morals, &c. &c. &c. which 
he insists on her accepting, and she persists in re- 
fusing. I am expressly, it should seem, excluded 
by this treaty, as an indispensable preliminary ; so 
that they are in high dissension, and what the re- 
sult may be I know not, particularly as they are 
consulting friends. 

" To-night, as Countess Guiccioli observed me 
poring over < Don Juan,' she stumbled by mere 
chance on the 1 37th stanza of the first Canto, and 
asked me what it meant. I told her, l Nothing 
but " your husband is coming." ' As I said this ir 
Italian, with some emphasis, she started up in i 
fright, and said, * Oh, my God, is he coming?' 
thinking it was her own, who either was or ought 
to have been at the theatre. You may suppose 
we laughed when she found out the mistake. 
You will be amused, as I was ; it happened not 
three hours ago. 

" I wrote to you last week, but have added no- 
thing to the third Canto since my fever, nor to 
The Prophecy of Dante.' Of the former there are 
about 100 octaves done ; of the latter about 500 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 257 

lines perhaps more. Moore saw the third Juan, 
as far as it then went. I do not know if my fever 
will let me go on with either, and the tertian lasts, 
they say, a good while. I had it in Malta on my 
way home, and the malaria fever in Greece the 
year before that. The Venetian is not very fierce, 
but I was delirious one of the nights with it, for an 
hour or two, and, on my senses coming back, found 
Fletcher sobbing on one side of the bed, and La 
Contessa Guiccioli * weeping on the other ; so that 

* The following curious particulars of his delirium are 
given by Madame Guiccioli : "At the beginning of winter 
Count Guiccioli came from Ravenna to fetch me. When he 
arrived, Lord Byron was ill of a fever, occasioned by his 
having got wet through ; a violent storm having surprised 
him while taking his usual exercise on horseback. He had 
been delirious the whole night, and I had watched continually 
by his bedside. During his delirium he composed a good 
many verses, and ordered his servant to write them down from 
his dictation. The rhythm of these verses was quite correct, 
and the poetry itself had no appearance of being the work of 
a delirious mind. He preserved them for some time after he 
got well, and then burned them." " Sul cominciare dell* 
inverno il Conte Guiccioli venne a prendermi per ricondurmi 
a Ravenna. Quando egli giunse Ld. Byron era ammalato di 
febbri prese per essersi bagnato avendolo sorpreso un forte 
temporale mentre faceva 1' usato suo esercizio a cavallo. Egli 
aveva delirato tutta la notte, ed io aveva sempre vegliato presso 
al suo letto. Nel suo delirio egli compose molti versi che 
ordino al suo domestico di scrivere sotto la sua dittatura. La 
misura dei versi era esatissima, e la poesia pure non pareva 
opera di una mente in delirio. Egli la conserve lungo tempo 
dopo restabilito poi 1' abbruccio." 

I have been informed, too, that, during his ravings at this 

258 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

I had no want of attendance. I have not yet taken 
any physician, because, though I think they may 
relieve in chronic disorders, such as gout and the 
like, c. &c. &c. (though they can't cure them) 
just as surgeons are necessary to set bones and tend 
wounds yet I think fevers quite out of their reach, 
and remediable only by diet and nature. 

" I don't like the taste of bark, but I suppose that 
I must take it soon. 

" Tell Rose that somebody at Milan (an Austrian, 
Mr. Hoppner says) is answering his book. William 
Bankes is in quarantine at Trieste. I have not lately 
heard from you. Excuse this paper: it is long 
paper shortened for the occasion. What folly is 
this of Carlile's trial ? why let him have the ho- 
nours of a martyr? it will only advertise the books 
in question. Yours, &c. 

" P. S. As I tell you that the Guiccioli business 
is on the eve of exploding in one way or the other, 
I will just add that, without attempting to influence 
the decision of the Contessa, a good deal depends 
upon it. If she and her husband make it up, you 
will, perhaps, see me in England sooner than you 
expect. If not, I shall retire with her to France or 
America, change my name, and lead a quiet pro- 
vincial life. All this may seem odd, but I have 
got the poor girl into a scrape ; and as neither 
her birth, nor her rank, nor her connections by 

time, he was constantly haunted by the idea of his mother-in- 
law, taking every one that came near him for her, and re- 
proaching those about him for letting her enter his room. 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 259 

birth or marriage are inferior to my own, I am in 
honour bound to support her through. Besides, she 
is a very pretty woman ask Moore and not yet 
one and twenty. 

" If she gets over this and I get over my tertian, 
I will, perhaps, look in at Albemarle Street, some of 
these days, en passant to Bolivar." 


" Venice, November 20. 1819. 

" A tertian ague which has troubled me for some 
time, and the indisposition of my daughter, have pre- 
vented me from replying before to your welcome 
letter. I have not been ignorant of your progress 
nor of your discoveries, and I trust that you are no 
worse in health from your labours. You may rely 
upon finding every body in England eager to reap 
the fruits of them ; and as you have done more than 
other men, I hope you will not limit yourself to say- 
ing less than may do justice to the talents and time 
you have bestowed on your perilous researches. 
The first sentence of my letter will have explained 
to you why I cannot join you at Trieste. I was on 
the point of setting out for England (before I knew 
of your arrival) when my child's illness has made her 
and me dependent on a Venetian Proto-Medico. 

" It is now seven years since you and I met ; 
which time you have employed better for others 
and more honourably for yourself than I have done. 

" In England you will find considerable changes, 
public and private, you will see some of our old 

a 9. 

260 NOTICES OF THE 1810. 

college contemporaries turned into lords of the 
Treasury, Admiralty, and the like, others become 
reformers and orators, many settled in life, as 
it is called, and others settled in death; among 
the latter, (by the way, not our fellow colle- 
gians,) Sheridan, Curran, Lady Melbourne, Monk 
Lewis, Frederick Douglas, &c. &c. &c. ; but you 
will still find Mr. * living and all his family, as 
also *****. 

" Should you come up this way, and I am still 
here, you need not be assured how glad I shall be 
to see you ; I long to hear some part from you, of 
that which I expect in no long time to see. At 
length you have had better fortune than any tra- 
veller of equal enterprise (except Humboldt), in 
returning safe ; and after the fate of the Brownes, 
and the Parkes, and the Burckhardts, it is hardly less 
surprise than satisfaction to get you back again. 
" Believe me ever 

" And very affectionately yours, 



" Venice, December 4. 1819. 

" You may do as you please, but you are about a 
hopeless experiment. Eldon will decide against 
you, were it only that my name is in the record. 
You will also recollect that if the publication is 
pronounced against, on the grounds you mention, 
as indecent and blasphemous, that / lose all right in 
my daughter's guardianship and education, in short, 
all paternal authority, and every thing concerning 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 261 

her, except ******** 
It was so decided in Shelley's case, because he had 
written Queen Mab, &c. &c. However, you can 
ask the lawyers, and do as you like : I do not inhibit 
you trying the question ; I merely state one of the 
consequences to me. With regard to the copyright, 
it is hard that you should pay for a nonentity : I 
will therefore refund it, which I can very well do, 
not having spent it, nor begun upon it ; and so we 
will be quits on that score. It lies at my banker's. 

" Of the Chancellor's law I am no judge ; but take 
up Tom Jones, and read his Mrs. Waters and Molly 
Seagrim ; or Prior's Hans Carvel and Paulo Pur- 
ganti : Smollett's Roderick Random, the chapter of 
Lord Strutwell, and many others ; Peregrine Pickle, 
the scene of the Beggar Girl ; Johnson's London^ for 
coarse expressions ; for instance, the words ' * *,' 
and ' * *;' Anstey's Bath Guide, the * Hearken, 
Lady Betty, hearken ;' take up, in short, Pope, 
Prior, Congreve, Dryden, Fielding, Smollett, and 
let the counsel select passages, and what becomes 
of their copyright, if his Wat Tyler decision is to 
pass into a precedent? I have nothing more to say : 
you must judge for yourselves. 

" I wrote to you some time ago. I have had a 
tertian ague ; my daughter Allegra has been ill also, 
and I have been almost obliged to run away with a 
married woman ; but with some difficulty, and many 
internal struggles, I reconciled the lady with her 
lord, and cured the fever of the child with bark, and 
my own with cold water. I think of setting out for 
England by the Tyrol in a few days, so that I could 
s 3 

262 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

wish you to direct your next letter to Calais. 
Excuse my writing in great haste and late in the 
morning, or night, whichever you please to call it. 
The third Canto of ' Don Juan' is completed, in 
about two hundred stanzas ; very decent, I believe, 
but do not know, and it is useless to discuss until it 
be ascertained if it may or may not be a property. 

" My present determination to quit Italy was 
unlocked for ; but I have explained the reasons in 
letters to my sister and Douglas Kinnaird, a week or 
two ago. My progress will depend upon the snows 
of the Tyrol, and the health of my child, who is at 
present quite recovered ; but I hope to get on well, 
and am 

" Yours ever and truly. 

" P. S. Many thanks for your letters, to which 
you are not to consider this as an answer, but as an 
acknowledgment. " 

The struggle which, at the time of my visit to 
him, I had found Lord Byron so well disposed to 
make towards averting, as far as now lay in his 
power, some of the mischievous consequences which, 
both to the object of his attachment and himself, 
were likely to result from their connection, had been 
brought, as the foregoing letters show, to a crisis 
soon after I left him. The Count Guiccioli, on his 
arrival at Venice, insisted, as we have seen, that his 
lady should return with him ; and, after some con- 
jugal negotiations, in which Lord Byron does not 
appear to have interfered, the young Contessa con- 
sented reluctantly to accompany her lord to Ravenna, 



it being first covenanted that, in future, all communi- 
cation between her and her lover should cease. 

" In a few days after this," says Mr. Hoppner, in 
some notices of his noble friend with which he has 
favoured me, " he returned to Venice, very much 
out of spirits, owing to Madame Guiccioli's departure, 
and out of humour with every body and every thing 
around him. We resumed our rides at the Lido; 
and I did my best not only to raise his spirits, but 
to make him forget his absent mistress, and to keep 
him to his purpose of returning to England. He 
went into no society; and having no longer any 
relish for his former occupation, his time, when he 
was not writing, hung heavy enough on hand." 

The promise given by the lovers not to correspond 
was, as all parties must have foreseen, soon violated ; 
and the letters Lord Byron addressed to the lady, 
at this time, though written in a language not his 
own, are rendered frequently even eloquent by the 
mere force of the feeling that governed him a 
feeling which could not have owed its fuel to fancy 
alone, since now that reality had been so long sub- 
stituted, it still burned on. From one of these 
letters, dated November 25th, I shall so far pre- 
sume upon the discretionary power vested in me, 
as to lay a short extract or two before the reader 
not merely as matters of curiosity, but on account 
of the strong evidence they afford of the struggle 
between passion and a sense of right that now 
agitated him. 

" You are," he says, " and ever will be, my first 
thought. But, at this moment, I am in a state most 
s 4? 

264? NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

dreadful, not knowing which way to decide; on 
the one hand, fearing that I should compromise you 
for ever, by my return to Ravenna and the conse- 
quences of such a step, and, on the other, dreading 
that I shall lose both you and myself, and all that I 
have ever known or tasted of happiness, by never 
seeing you more. I pray of you, I implore you to 
be comforted, and to believe that I cannot cease to 
love you but with my life." * In another part he 
says, " I go to save you, and leave a country 
insupportable to me without you. Your letters to 
F * * and myself do wrong to my motives but you 
will yet see your injustice. It is not enough that I 
must leave you from motives of which ere long 
you will be convinced it is not enough that I 
must fly from Italy, with a heart deeply wounded, 
after having passed all my days in solitude since 
your departure, sick both in body and mind but I 
must also have to endure your reproaches without 
answering and without deserving them. Farewell ! 
in that one word is comprised the death of my 
happiness. " f 

* " Tu sei, e sarai sempre mio primo pensier. Ma in 
questo momenta sono in un' stato orribile non sapendo cosa 
decidere ; temendo, da una parte, comprometterti in eterno 
col mio ritorno a Ravenna, e colle sue consequenze; e, dal* 
altra perderti, e me stesso, e tutto quel che ho conosciuto o 
gustato di felicita, nel non vederti piu. Ti prego, ti supplico 
calmarti, e credere che non posso cessare ad amarti che colla 

f " .to parto, per salvarti, e lascio un paese divenuto insop- 
portabile senza di te. Le tue lettere alia F * *, ed anche a me 



He had now arranged every thing for his depar- 
ture for England, and had even fixed the day, when 
accounts reached him from Ravenna that the Con- 
tessa was alarmingly ill ; her sorrow at their separ- 
ation having so much preyed upon her mind, that 
even her own family, fearful of the consequences, 
had withdrawn all opposition to her wishes, and 
now, with the sanction of Count Guiccioli himself, 
entreated her lover to hasten to Ravenna. What 
was he, in this dilemma, to do ? Already had he 
announced his coming to different friends in England, 
and every dictate, he felt, of prudence and manly 
fortitude urged his departure. While thus balancing 
between duty and inclination, the day appointed for 
his setting out arrived; and the following picture, 
from the life, of his irresolution on the occasion, is 
from a letter written by a female friend of Madame 
Guiccioli, who was present at the scene : " He was 
ready dressed for the journey, his gloves and cap on, 
and even his little cane in his hand. Nothing was 

stesso fanno torto ai miei motivi ; ma col tempo vedrai la tua 
ingiustizia. Tu parli del dolor io lo sento, ma mi mancano 
le parole. Non basta lasciarti per del motivi dei quali tu eri 
persuasa (non molto tempo fa) non basta partire dall* Italia 
col cuore lacerato, dopo aver passato tutti i giorni dopo la 
tua partenza nella solitudine, ammalato di corpo e di anima 
ma ho anche a sopportare i tuoi rimproveri, senza replicarti, 
e senza meritarli. Addio in quella parola e compresa la 
morte di mia felicita." 

The close of this last sentence exhibits one of the very few 
instances of incorrectness that Lord Byron falls into in these 
letters; the proper construction being "della mia felicita." 

266 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

now waited for but his coming down stairs, his 
boxes being already all on board the gondola. At 
this moment, my Lord, byway of pretext, declares, 
that if it should strike one o'clock before every 
thing was in order (his arms being the only thing 
not yet quite ready), he would not go that day. 
The hour strikes, and he remains ! " * 

The writer adds, " it is evident he has not the 
heart to go ;" and the result proved that she had 
not judged him wrongly. The very next day's 
tidings from Ravenna decided his fate, and he 
himself, in a letter to the Contessa, thus announces 
the triumph which she had achieved. " F * * * 
will already have told you, with her accustomed 
sublimity, that Love has gained the victory. I 
could not summon up resolution enough to leave 
the country where you are, without, at least, once 
more seeing you. On yourself, perhaps, it will 
depend, whether I ever again shall leave you. Of 
the rest we shall speak when we meet. You ought, 
by this time, to know which is most conducive to 
your welfare, my presence or my absence. For 
myself, I am a citizen of the world all countries 
are alike to me. You have ever been, since our 
first acquaintance, the sole object of my thougMs. 

* " Egli era tutto vestito di viaggio coi guanti fra le mani, 
col suo bonnet, e persino colla piccola sua canna ; non altro 
aspettavasi che egli scendesse le scale, tutti i bauli erano in 
barca. Milord fa la pretesta che se suona un ora dopo il mez- 
zodi e che non sia ogni cosa all' ordine (poiche le arnii sole 
non erano in pronto) egli non partirebbe piu per quel giorno. 
L'ora suona ed egli resta." 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON". 267 

My opinion was, that the best course I could adopt, 
both for your peace and that of all your family, 
would have been to depart and go far, far away 
from you; since to have been near and not ap- 
proach you would have been, for me, impossible. 
You have however decided that I am to return to 
Ravenna. I shall accordingly return and shall do 
and be all that you wish. I cannot say more." * 
On quitting Venice he took leave of Mr. Hoppner 
in a short but cordial letter, which I cannot better 
introduce than by prefixing to it the few words of 
comment with which this excellent friend of the 
noble poet has himself accompanied it : "I need 
not say with what painful feeling I witnessed the 
departure of a person who, from the first day of our 
acquaintance, had treated me with unvaried kind- 
ness, reposing a confidence in me which it was be- 
yond the power of my utmost efforts to deserve ; 
admitting me to an intimacy which I had no right 

* " La F * * ti avra delta, colla sua solita sublimith, che 
1'Amor ha vinto. lo non ho potuto trovare forza di aniraa 
per lasciare il paese dove tu sei, senza vederti almeno un' altra 
volta : forse dipendera da te se mai ti lascio piu. Per il 
resto parleremo. Tu dovresti adesso sapere cosa sara piu con- 
venevole al tuo ben essere la mia presenza o la mia lontananza. 
lo sono cittadino del mondo tutti i paesi sono eguali per me. 
Tu sei stata sempre (dopo che ci siamo conosciuti) funico 
oggetto di miei pensieri. Credeva che il miglior partito per la 
pace tua e la pace di tua famiglia fosse il mio partire, e andare 
ben lontano ; poiche" stare vicino e non avvicinarti sarebbe per 
me impossibile. Ma tu hai deciso che io debbo ritornare a 
Ravenna tornaro e faro e saro cio che tu vuoi. Non 
posso dirti di piu." 

268 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

to claim, and listening with patience, and the great- 
est good temper, to the remonstrances I ventured 
to make upon his conduct." 


" My dear Hoppner, 

" Partings are but bitter work at best, so that I 
shall not venture on a second with you. Pray make 
my respects to Mrs. Hoppner, and assure her of my 
unalterable reverence for the singular goodness of 
her disposition, which is not without its reward even 
in this world for those who are no great believers 
in human virtues would discover enough in her to 
give them a better opinion of their fellow-creatures 
and what is still more difficult of themselves, 
as being of the same species, however inferior in 
approaching its nobler models. Make, too, what 
excuses you can for my omission of the ceremony 
of leave-taking. If we all meet again, I will make 
my humblest apology ; if not, recollect that I wished 
you all well ; and, if you can, forget that I have 
given you a great deal of trouble. 

" Yours," &c. &c. 


Venice, December 10. 1819. 

" Since I last wrote, I have changed my mind, 
and shall not come to England. The more I con- 
template, the more I dislike the place and the pro- 
spect. You may, therefore, address to me as usual 
here, though I mean to go to another city. I have 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 269 

finished the third Canto of Don Juan, but the things 
I have read and heard discourage all further publi- 
cation at least for the present. You may try the 
copy question, but you'll lose it : the cry is up, and 
cant is up. I should have no objection to return 
the price of the copyright, and have written to 
Mr. Kinnaird by this post on the subject. Talk 
with him. 

" I have not the patience, nor do I feel interest 
enough in the question, to contend with the fellows 
in their own slang ; but I perceive Mr. Blackwood's 
Magazine and one or two others of your missives 
have been hyperbolical in their praise, and diabolical 
in their abuse. I like and admire W * * n, and 
he should not have indulged himself in such out- 
rageous licence.* It is overdone and defeats itself. 
What would he say to the grossness without passion 
and the misanthropy without feeling of Gulliver's 
Travels ? When he talks of Lady's Byron's business, 
he talks of what he knows nothing about ; and you 
may tell him that no one can more desire a public 
investigation of that affair than I do. 

" I sent home by Moore (for Moore only, who 
has my Journal also) my Memoir written up to 1816, 
and I gave him leave to show it to whom he pleased, 

* This is one of the many mistakes into which his distance 
from the scene of literary operations led him. The gentleman, 
to whom the hostile article in the Magazine is here attributed, 
has never, either then or since, written upon the subject of the 
noble poet's character or genius, without giving vent to a feel- 
ing of admiration as enthusiastic as it is always eloquently and 
powerfully expressed. 

270 NOTICES OF THE 1819. 

but not to publish, on any account. You may read 
it, and you may let W * * n read it, if he likes not 
for his public opinion, but his private ; for I like the 
man, and care very little about his Magazine. And 
I could wish Lady B. herself to read it, that she 
may have it in her power to mark any thing mis- 
taken or mis-stated ; as it may probably appear after 
my extinction, and it would be but fair she should 
see it, that is to say, herself willing. 

" Perhaps I may take a journey to you in the 
spring; but I have been ill and am indolent and 
indecisive, because few things interest me. These 
fellows first abused me for being gloomy, and now 
they are wroth that I am, or attempted to be, face- 
tious. I have got such a cold and headach that I 
can hardly see what I scrawl : the winters here 
are as sharp as needles. Some time ago, I wrote to 
you rather fully about my Italian affairs ; at present 
I can say no more except that you shall hear further 
by and by. 

" Your Blackwood accuses me of treating women 
harshly : it may be so, but I have been their martyr ; 
my whole life has been sacrificed to them and by 
them. I mean to leave Venice in a few days, but 
you will address your letters here as usual. When 
I fix elsewhere, you shall know." 

Soon after this letter to Mr. Murray he set out 
for Ravenna, from which place we shall find his cor- 
respondence for the next year and a half dated. For 
a short time after his arrival, he took up his residence 
at an inn ; but the Count Guiccioli having allowed 

1819. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 271 

him to hire a suite of apartments in the Palazzo 
Guiccioli itself, he was once more lodged under the 
same roof with the Countess Guiccioli. 


" Ravenna, Dec. 31. 1819. 

" I have been here this week, and was obliged to 
put on my armour and go the night after my arrival 
to the Marquis Cavalli's, where there were between 
two and three hundred of the best company I have 
seen in Italy, more beauty, more youth, and more 
diamonds among the women than have been seen 
these fifty years in the Sea- Sodom.* I never saw 
such a difference between two places of the same 
latitude, (or platitude, it is all one,) music, dancing, 
and play, all in the same salle. The G.'s object 
appeared to be to parade her foreign friend as much 
as possible, and, faith, if she seemed to glory in 
so doing, it was not for me to be ashamed of it. 
Nobody seemed surprised; all the women, on the 
contrary, were, as it were, delighted with the ex- 
cellent example. The vice-legate, and all the other 
vices, were as polite as could be ; and I, who had 
acted on the reserve, was fairly obliged to take the 
lady under my arm, and look as much like a cicisbeo 
as I could on so short a notice, to say nothing 
of the embarrassment of a cocked hat and sword, 
much more formidable to me than ever it will be to 
the enemy. 

* " Gehenna of the waters ! thou Sea- Sodom 1 " 


272 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

" I write in great haste do you answer as 
hastily. I can understand nothing of all this ; but it 
seems as if the G. had been presumed to be planted^ 
and was determined to show that she was not, 
plantation, in this hemisphere, being the greatest 
moral misfortune. But this is mere conjecture, for I 
know nothing about it except that every body 
are very kind to her, and not discourteous to me. 
Fathers, and all relations, quite agreeable. 

" Yours ever, 


" P. S. Best respects to Mrs. H. 

" I would send the compliments of the season ; 
but the season itself is so complimentary with snow 
and rain that I wait for sunshine." 


" January 2. 1820. 
" My dear Moore, 

" ' To-day it is my wedding day ; 

And all the folks would stare, 
If wife should dine at Edmonton, 

And I should dine at Ware.' 
Or thus : 

" Here's a happy new year ! but with reason, 

I beg you'll permit me to say 
Wish me many returns of the season, 
But as few as you please of the day. 

" My this present writing is to direct you that, 
if she chooses, she may see the MS. Memoir in your 
possession. I wish her to have fair play, in all 



cases, even though it will not be published till after 
my decease. For this purpose, it were but just that 
Lady B. should know what is there said of her and 
hers, that she may have full power to remark on or 
respond to any part or parts, as may seem fitting 
to herself. This is fair dealing, I presume, in all 

" To change the subject, are you in England ? I 
send you an epitaph for Castlereagh. ***** 
Another for Pitt : 

" With death doom'd to grapple 

Beneath this cold slab, he 
Who lied in the Chapel 
Now lies in the Abbey. 

" The gods seem to have made me poetical this 

" In digging up your bones, Tom Paine, 

Will. Cobbett has done well : 
You visit him on earth again, 

He'll visit you in hell. 

" You come to him on earth again, 
He'll go with you to hell. 

" Pray let not these versiculi go forth with my 
name, except among the initiated, because my friend 
H. has foamed into a reformer, and, I greatly fear, 
will subside into Newgate ; since the Honourable 
House, according to Galignani's Reports of Parlia- 
mentary Debates, are menacing a prosecution to 
a pamphlet of his. I shall be very sorry to hear of 
any thing but good for him, particularly in these 


274? NOTICES OF THE 182O. 

miserable squabbles; but tbese are the natural 
effects of taking a part in them. 

" For my own part I had a sad scene since you 
went. Count Gu. came for his wife, and none of 
those consequences which Scott prophesied ensued. 
There was no damages, as in England, and so Scott 
lost his wager. But there was a great scene, for she 
would not, at first, go back with him at least, she 
did go back with him ; but he insisted, reasonably 
enough, that all communication should be broken 
off between her and me. So, finding Italy very 
dull, and having a fever tertian, I packed up my 
valise, and prepared to cross the Alps ; but my 
daughter fell ill, and detained me. 

" After her arrival at Ravenna, the Guiccioli fell 
ill again too ; and at last, her father (who had, all 
along, opposed the liaison most violently till now) 
wrote to me to say that she was in such a state that 
he begged me to come and see her, and that her 
husband had acquiesced, in consequence of her 
relapse, and that he (her father) would guarantee all 
this, and that there would be no farther scenes in 
consequence between them, and that I should not 
be compromised in any way. I set out soon after, 
and have been here ever since. I found her a good 
deal altered, but getting better : all this comes of 
reading Corinna. 

" The Carnival is about to begin, and I saw about 
two or three hundred people at the Marquis Cavalli's 
the other evening, with as much youth, beauty, and 
diamonds among the women, as ever averaged in 
the like number. My appearance in waiting on the 
Guiccioli was considered as a thing of course. The 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 275 

Marquis is her uncle, and naturally considered me 
as her relation. 

" The paper is out, and so is the letter. Pray 
write. Address to Venice, whence the letters will 
be forwarded. Yours, &c B." 


* Ravenna, January 2O. 1820. 

" I have not decided any thing about remaining 
at Ravenna. I may stay a day, a week, a year, all 
my life ; but all this depends upon what I can neither 
see nor foresee. I came because I was called, and 
will go the moment that I perceive what may render 
my departure proper. My attachment has neither 
the blindness of the beginning, nor the microscopic 
accuracy of the close to such liaisons ; but ' time 
and the hour ' must decide upon what I do. I can 
as yet say nothing, because I hardly know any thing 
beyond what I -have told you. 

" I wrote to you last post for my movables, as 
there is no getting a lodging with a chair or table 
here ready ; and as I have already some things of 
the sort at Bologna which I had last summer there 
for my daughter, I have directed them to be moved ; 
and wish the like to be done with those of Venice, 
that I may at least get out of the * Albergo Im- 
periale,' which is imperial in all true sense of the 
epithet. Buffini may be paid for his poison. I forgot 
to thank you and Mrs. Hoppner fora whole treasure 
of toys for Allegra before our departure ; it was very 
kind, and we are very grateful. 
T 2 

276 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

" Your account of the weeding of the Governor's 
party is very entertaining. If you do not understand 
the consular exceptions, I do; and it is right that a 
man of honour, and a woman of probity, should find 
it so, particularly in a place where there are not 
1 ten righteous.' As to nobility in England none 
are strictly noble but peers, not even peers' sons, 
though titled by courtesy ; nor knights of the garter, 
unless of the peerage, so that Castlereagh himself 
would hardly pass through a foreign herald's ordeal 
till the death of his father. 

" The snow is a foot deep here. There is a 
theatre, and opera, the Barber of Seville. Balls 
begin on Monday next. Pay the porter for never 
looking after the gate, and ship my chattels, and let 
me know, or let Castelli let me know, how my law- 
suits go on but fee him only in proportion to his 
success. Perhaps we may meet in the spring yet, 
if you are for England. I see H * * has got into a 
scrape, which does not please me ; he should not 
have gone so deep among those men without calcu- 
lating the consequences. I used to think myself 
the most imprudent of all among my friends and 
acquaintances, but almost begin to doubt it. 

" Yours," &c. 


" Ravenna, January 31. 1820. 

" You would hardly have been troubled with the 
removal of my furniture, but there is none to be had 
nearer than Bologna, and I have been fain to have 


that of the rooms which I fitted up for my daughter 
there in the summer removed here. The expense will 
be at least as great of the land carnage, so that you 
see it was necessity, and not choice. Here they get 
every thing from Bologna, except some lighter arti- 
cles from Forli or Faenza. 

" If Scott is returned, pray remember me to him, 
and plead laziness the whole and sole cause of my 
not replying : dreadful is the exertion of letter- 
writing. The Carnival here is less boisterous, but 
we have balls and a theatre. I carried Bankes to 
both, and he carried away, I believe, a much more 
favourable impression of the society here than of 
that of Venice, recollect that I speak of the native 
society only. 

" I am drilling very hard to learn how to double 
a shawl, and should succeed to admiration if I did 
not always double it the wrong side out ; and then I 
sometimes confuse and bring away two, so as to put 
all the Servanti out, besides keeping their Servile in 
the cold till every body can get back their property. 
But it is a dreadfully moral place, for you must not 
look at anybody's wife except your neighbour's, 
if you go to the next door but one, you are scolded, 
and presumed to be perfidious. And then a rela- 
zione or an amicizia seems to be a regular affair of 
from five to fifteen years, at which period, if there 
occur a widowhood, it finishes by a sposalizio ; and 
in the mean time it has so many rules of its own that 
it is not much better. A man actually becomes a 
piece of female property, they won't let their 
Serventi marry until there is a vacancy for them- 
T 3 

278 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

selves. I know two instances of this in one family 

" To-night there was a * Lottery after the 

opera ; it is an odd ceremony. Bankes and I took 
tickets of it, and buffooned together very merrily. 
He is gone to Firenze. Mrs. J * * should have 
sent you my postscript ; there was no occasion to 
have bored you in person. I never interfere in any- 
body's squabbles, she may scratch your face her- 

" The weather here has been dreadful snow 
several feet a Jiume, broke down a bridge, and 
flooded heaven knows how many campi ; then rain 
came and it is still thawing so that my saddle- 
horses have a sinecure till the roads become more 
practicable. Why did Lega give away the goat ? a 
blockhead I must have him again. 

" Will you pay Missiaglia and the Buffo Buffini of 
the Gran Bretagna ? I heard from Moore, who is at 
Paris ; I had previously written to him in London, 
but he has not yet got my letter, apparently. 

" Believe me," &c. 


" Ravenna, February 7. 1820. 

" I have had no letter from you these two months ; 
but since I came here in December, 1819, I sent 
you a letter for Moore, who is God knows where 

* The word here, being under the seal, is illegible. 



in Paris or London, I presume. I have copied and 
cut the third Canto of Don Juan into two, because it 
was too long ; and I tell you this beforehand, because 
in case of any reckoning between you and me, these 
two are only to go for one, as this was the original 
form, and, in fact, the two together are not longer 
than one of the first : so remember that I have not 
made this division to double upon you ; but merely 
to suppress some tediousness in the aspect of the 
thing. I should have served you a pretty trick if I 
had sent you, for example, cantos of 50 stanzas 

" I am translating the first Canto of Pulci's Mor- 
gante Maggiore, and have half done it ; but these 
last days of the Carnival confuse and interrupt every 

" I have not yet sent off the Cantos, and have 
some doubt whether they ought to be published, for 
they have not the spirit of the first. The outcry 
has not frightened but it has hurt me, and I have not 
written con amore this time. It is very decent, how- 
ever, and as dull as ' the last new comedy.' 

" I think my translations of Pulci will make you 
stare. It must be put by the original, stanza for 
stanza, and verse for verse ; and you will see what 
was permitted in a Catholic country and a bigoted 
age to a churchman, on the score of religion ; and 
so tell those buffoons who accuse me of attacking the 

" I write in the greatest haste, it being the hour 
of the Corso, and I must go and buffoon with the 
rest. My daughter Allegra is just gone with the 
T 4 

280 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

Countess G. in Count G.'s coach and six to join the 
cavalcade, and I must follow with all the rest of the 
Ravenna world. Our old Cardinal is dead, and the 
new one not appointed yet ; but the masquing goes 
on the same, the vice-legate being a good governor. 
We have had hideous frost and snow, but all is mild 

Yours," &c. 


" Ravenna, February 19. 1820. 

" I have room for you in the house here, as I had 
in Venice, if you think fit to make use of it; but do 
not expect to find the same gorgeous suite of tapes- 
tried halls. Neither dangers nor tropical heats have 
ever prevented your penetrating wherever you had 
a mind to it, and why should the snow now ? 
Italian snow fie on it ! so pray come. Tita's 
heart yearns for you, and mayhap for your silver 
broad pieces ; and your playfellow, the monkey, is 
alone and inconsolable. 

" I forget whether you admire or tolerate red hair, 
so that I rather dread showing you all that I have 
about me and around me in this city. Come, never- 
theless, you can pay Dante a morning visit, and I 
will undertake that Theodore and Honoria will be 
most happy to see you in the forest hard by. We 
Goths, also, of Ravenna, hope you will not despise 
our arch-Goth, Theodoric. I must leave it to these 
worthies to entertain you all the fore part of the 
day, seeing that I have none at all myself the 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 281 

lark that rouses me from my slumbers, being an 
afternoon bird. But, then, all your evenings, and as 
much as you can give me of your nights, will be 
mine. Ay ! and you will find me eating flesh, too, 
like yourself or any other cannibal, except it be 
upon Fridays. Then, there are more Cantos (and 
be d d to them) of what the courteous reader, Mr. 

S , calls Grub Street, in my drawer, which I 

have a little scheme to commit to your charge for 
England ; only I must first cut up (or cut down) 
two aforesaid Cantos into three, because I am grown 
base and mercenary, and it is an ill precedent to let 
my Mecaenas, Murray, get too much for his money. 
I am busy, also, with Pulci translating servilely 
translating, stanza for stanza, and line for line 
two octaves every night, the same allowance as at 

" Would you call at your banker's at Bologna, and 
ask him for some letters lying there for me, and 
burn them ? or I will so do not burn them, but 
bring them, and believe me ever and very affec- 
tionately Yours, 


" P. S. I have a particular wish to hear from your- 
self something about Cyprus, so pray recollect all 
that you can. Good night." 


" Ravenna, February 21. 1820. 

" The bull-dogs will be very agreeable. I have 
only those of this country, who, though good, have 

282 NOTICES OF THE 1520 

not the tenacity of tooth and stoicism in endurance 
of my canine fellow-citizens : then pray send them 
by the readiest conveyance perhaps best by sea. 
Mr. Kinnaird will disburse for them, and deduct 
from the amount on your application or that of Cap- 
tain Tyler. 

" I see the good old King is gone to his place. 
One can't help being sorry, though blindness, and 
age, and insanity, are supposed to be drawbacks on 
human felicity ; but I am not at all sure that the 
latter, at least, might not render him happier than 
any of his subjects. 

w I have no thoughts of coming to the coronation, 
though I should like to see it, and though I have a 
right to be a puppet in it; but my division with 
Lady Byron, which has drawn an equinoctial line 
between me and mine in all other things, will operate 
in this also to prevent my being in the same proces- 

" By Saturday's post I sent you four packets, con- 
taining Cantos third and fourth. Recollect that 
these two cantos reckon only as one with you and 
me, being, in fact, the third canto cut into two, be- 
cause I found it too long. Remember this, and don't 
imagine that there could be any other motive. The 
whole is about 225 stanzas, more or less, and a lyric 
of 96 lines, so that they are no longer than the first 
single cantos : but the truth is, that I made the first 
too long, and should have cut those down also had I 
thought better. Instead of saying in future for so 
many cantos, say so many stanzas or pages : it was 
Jacob Tonson's way, and certainly the best; it 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 283 

prevents mistakes. I might have sent you a dozen 
cantos of 40 stanzas each, those of ' The Min- 
strel' (Beattie's) are no longer, and ruined you at 
once, if you don't suffer as it is. But recollect that 
you are not pinned down to any thing you say in a 
letter, and that, calculating even these two cantos as 
one only (which they were and are to be reckoned), 
you are not bound by your offer. Act as may seem 
fair to all parties. 

" I have finished my translation of the first Canto 
of * The Morgante Maggiore' of Pulci, which I will 
transcribe and send. It is the parent, not only of 
Whistlecraft, but of all jocose Italian poetry. You 
must print it side by side with the original Italian, 
because I wish the reader to judge of the fidelity: it 
is stanza for stanza, and often line for line, if not 
word for word. 

" You ask me for a volume of manners, &c. on 
Italy. Perhaps I am in the case to know more of 
them than most Englishmen, because I have lived 
among the natives, and in parts of the country where 
Englishmen never resided before (I speak of Ro- 
magna and this place particularly) ; but there are 
many reasons why I do not choose to treat in print 
on such a subject. I have lived in their houses and 
in the heart of their families, sometimes merely as 
* amico di casa,' and sometimes as ' amico di cuore * 
of the Dama, and in neither case do I feel myself 
authorised in making a book of them. Their moral 
is not your moral ; their life is not your life ; you 
would not understand it ; it is not English, nor 
French, nor German, which you would all under < 

284 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

stand. The conventual education, the cavalier ser- 
vitude, the habits of thought and living are so entirely 
different, and the difference becomes so much more 
striking the more you live intimately with them, that 
I know not how to make you comprehend a people 
who are at once temperate and profligate, serious in 
their characters and buffoons in their amusements, 
capable of impressions and passions, which are at 
once sudden: and durable (what you find in no other 
nation), and who actually have no society (what we 
would call so), as you may see by their comedies ; 
they have no real comedy, not even in Goldoni, and 
that is because they have no society to draw it from. 

" Their conversazioni are not society at all. They 
go to the theatre to talk, and into company to hold 
their tongues. The women sit in a circle, and the 
men gather into groups, or they play at dreary faro, 
or * lotto reale,' for small sums. Their academic 
are concerts like our own, with better music and 
more form. Their best things are the carnival balls 
and masquerades, when every body runs mad for six 
weeks. After their dinners and suppers they make 
extempore verses and buffoon one another ; but it is 
in a humour which you would not enter into, ye of 
the north. 

" In their houses it is better. I should know some- 
thing of the matter, having had a pretty general 
experience among their women, from the fisherman's 
wife up to the Nobil Dama, whom I serve. Their 
system has its rules, and its fitnesses, and its deco- 
rums, so as to be reduced to a kind of discipline or 
game at hearts, which admits few deviations, unless 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 285 

you wish to lose it. They are extremely tenacious, 
and jealous as furies, not permitting their lovers even 
to marry if they can help it, and keeping them always 
close to them in public as in private, whenever they 
can. In short, they transfer marriage to adultery, 
and strike the not out of that commandment. The 
reason is, that they marry for their parents, and love 
for themselves. They exact fidelity from a lover as 
a debt of honour, while they pay the husband as a 
tradesman, that is, not at all. You hear a person's 
character, male or female, canvassed not as depend- 
ing on their conduct to their husbands or wives, but 
to their mistress or lover. If I wrote a quarto, I 
don't know that I could do more than amplify what 
I have here noted. It is to be observed that while 
they do all this, the greatest outward respect is to 
be paid to the husbands, not only by the ladies, but 
by their Serventi particularly if the husband serves 
no one himself (which is not often the case, however); 
so that you would often suppose them relations the 
Servente making the figure of one adopted into the 
family. Sometimes the ladies run a little restive and 
elope, or divide, or make a scene : but this is at 
starting, generally, when they know no better, or 
when they fall in love with a foreigner, or some such 
anomaly, and is always reckoned unnecessary and 

" You enquire after Dante's Prophecy : I have not 
done more than six hundred lines, but will vaticinate 
at leisure. 

" Of the bust I know nothing. No cameos or seals 
are to be cut here or elsewhere that I know of, in 



any good style. Hobhouse should write himself to 
Thorwaldsen : the bust was made and paid for three 
years ago. 

" Pray tell Mrs. Leigh to request Lady Byron to 
urge forward the transfer from the funds. I wrote 
to Lady Byron on business this post, addressed to 
the care of Mr. D. Kinnaird." 


" Ravenna, February 26. 1820. 

" Pulci and I are waiting for you with impatience ; 
but I suppose we must give way to the attraction of 
the Bolognese galleries for a time. I know nothing 
of pictures myself, and care almost as little : but to 
me there are none like the Venetian above all, 
Giorgione. I remember well his Judgment of Solo- 
mon in the Mariscalchi in Bologna. The real mo- 
ther is beautiful, exquisitely beautiful. Buy her, 
by all means, if you can, and take her home with 
you : put her in safety : for be assured there are 
troublous times brewing for Italy ; and as I never 
could keep out of a row in my life, it will be my fate* 
I dare say, to be over head and ears in it ; but no 
matter, these are the stronger reasons for coming to 
see me soon. 

" I have more of Scott's novels (for surely they 
are Scott's) since we met, and am more and more 
delighted. I think that I even prefer them to his 
poetry, which (by the way) I redde for the first time 
in my life in your rooms in Trinity College. 

" There are some curious commentaries on Dante 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 287 

preserved here, which you should see. Believe me 
ever, faithfully and most affectionately, yours," &c. 


" Ravenna, March 1. 1820. 

" I sent you by last post the translation of the 
first Canto of the Morgante Maggiore, and wish you 
to ask Rose about the word * sbergo,' L e. ' usbergo,' 
which I have translated cuirass. I suspect that it 
means helmet also. Now, if so, which of the senses 
is best accordant with the text? I have adopted 
cuirass, but will be amenable to reasons. Of the 
natives, some say one, and some t'other : but they 
are no great Tuscans in Romagna. However, I will 
ask Sgricci (the famous improvisatore) to-morrow, 
who is a native of Arezzo. The Countess Guiccioli 
who is reckoned a very cultivated young lady, and 
the dictionary, say cuirass. I have written cuirass, 
but helmet runs in my head nevertheless and will 
run in verse very well, whilk is the principal point. 
I will ask the Sposa Spina Spinelli, too, the Florentine 
bride of Count Gabriel Rusponi, just imported from 
Florence, and get the sense out of somebody. 

" I have just been visiting the new Cardinal, who 
arrived the day before yesterday in his legation. He 
seems a good old gentleman, pious and simple, and 
not quite like his predecessor, who was a bon-vivant, 
in the worldly sense of the words. 

" Enclosed is a letter which I received some time 
ago from Dallas. It will explain itself. I have not 
answered it. This comes of doing people good. At 

5288 NOTICES OF THE ] 820. 

one time or another (including copyrights) this per- 
son has had about fourteen hundred pounds of my 
money, and he writes what he calls a posthumous 
work about me, and a scrubby letter accusing me of 
treating him ill, when I never did any such thing. 
It is true that Heft off letter-writing, as I have done 
with almost everybody else ; but I can't see how that 
was misusing him. 

" I look upon his epistle as the consequence of my 
not sending him another hundred pounds, which 
he wrote to me for about two years ago, and which 
I thought proper to withhold, he having had his 
share, methought, of what I could dispone upon 

" In your last you ask me after my articles of 
domestic wants ; I believe they are as usual : the 
bull-dogs, magnesia, soda-powders, tooth-powders, 
brushes, and every thing of the kind which are here 
unattainable. You still ask me to return to England : 
alas ! to what purpose ? You do not know what 
you are requiring. Return I must, probably, some 
day or other (if I live), sooner or later ; but it will 
not be for pleasure, nor can it end in good. You 
enquire after my health and SPIRITS in large letters: 
my health can't be very bad, for I cured myself of a 
sharp tertian ague, in three weeks, with cold water, 
which had held my stoutest gondolier for months, 
notwithstanding all the bark of the apothecary, a 
circumstance which surprised Dr. Aglietti, who said 
it was a proof of great stamina, particularly in so 
epidemic a season. I did it out of dislike to the 
taste of bark (which [ can't bear), and succeeded, 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 289 

contrary to the prophecies of every body, by simply 
taking nothing at all. As to spirits, they are un- 
equal, now high, now low, like other people's I 
suppose, and depending upon circumstances. 

" Pray send me W. Scott's new novels. What are 
their names and characters ? I read some of his 
former ones, at least once a day, for an hour or so. 
The last are too hurried : he forgets Ravenswood's 
name, and calls him Edgar and then Norman; and 
Girder, the cooper, is styled now Gilbert, and now 
John ; and he don't make enough of Montrose ; but 
Dalgetty is excellent, and so is Lucy Ashton, and 
the b h her mother. What is Ivanhoe 9 and what 
do you call his other ? are there two ? Pray make 
him write at least two a year : I like no reading so 

" The editor of the Bologna Telegraph has sent 
me a paper with extracts from Mr. Mulock's (his 
name always reminds me of Muley Moloch of 
Morocco) * Atheism answered,' in which there is a 
long eulogium of my poesy, and a great * compati- 
mento' for my misery. I never could understand 
what they mean by accusing me of irreligion. How- 
ever, they may have it their own way. This gentle- 
man seems to be my great admirer, so I take what 
he says in good part, as he evidently intends kind- 
ness, to which I can't accuse myself of being invin 

" Yours," (Nrc. 

VOL. \\, 

290 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 


" Ravenna, March 5. 182O. 

" In case, in your country, you should not readily 
lay hands on the Morgante Maggiore, I send you the 
original text of the first Canto, to correspond with 
the translation which I sent you a few days ago. It 
is from the Naples edition in quarto of 1732, 
dated Florence, however, by a trick of the trade, 
which you, as one of the allied sovereigns of the 
profession, will perfectly understand without any 
further spiegazione. 

" It is strange that here nobody understands the 
real precise meaning of ' sbergo,' or { usbergo V an 
old Tuscan word, which I have rendered cuirass (but 
am not sure it is not helmet). I have asked at least 
twenty people, learned and ignorant, male and 
female, including poets, and officers civil and military. 
The dictionary says cuirass, but gives no authority ; 
and a female friend of mine says positively cuirass, 
which makes me doubt the fact still more than before. 
Ginguene says l bonnet de fer,' with the usual 
superficial decision of a Frenchman, so that I can't 
believe him : and what between the dictionary, the 
Italian woman, and the Frenchman, there's no trust- 
ing to a word they say. The context, too, which 
should decide, admits equally of either meaning, as 
you will perceive. Ask Rose, Hobhouse, Merivale, 
and Foscolo, and vote with the majority. Is Frere 

* It has been suggested to me that usbergo is obviously th<, 
same as hauberk, habergeon, &c. all from the German haU- 
berg, or covering of the neck. 

1320. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 291 

a good Tuscan ? if he be, bother him too. I have 
tried, you see, to be as accurate as I well could. 
This is my third or fourth letter, or packet, within 
the last twenty days." 


" Ravenna, March 14. 1820. 

" Enclosed is Dante's Prophecy Vision or 
what not. * Where I have left more than one 
reading (which I have done often), you may adopt 
that which GifFord, Frere, Rose, and Hobhouse, and 
others of your Utican Senate think the best or least 
bad. The preface will explain all that is explicable. 
These are but the four first cantos : if approved, 
I will go on. , 

" Pray mind in printing ; and let some good Italian 
scholar correct the Italian quotations. 

" Four days ago I was overturned in an open car- 
riage between the river and a steep bank : wheels 
dashed to pieces, slight bruises, narrow escape, and 
all that ; but no harm done, though coachman, foot- 
man, horses, and vehicle, were all mixed together 
like macaroni. It was owing to bad driving, as I 
say ; but the coachman swears to a stait on the part 
of the horses. We went against a post on the verge 

* There were in this Poem, originally, three lines of remark- 
able strength and severity, which, as the Italian poet against 
whom they were directed was then living, were omitted ia 
the publication. I shall here give them from memory. 
" The prostitution of his Muse and wife, 
Both beautiful, and both by him debased, 
Shall salt his bread and give him means of life." 

u 2 

292 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

of a steep bank, and capsized. I usually go out of the 
town in a carriage, and meet the saddle horses at the 
bridge ; it was in going there that we boggled ; but 
I got my ride, as usual, after the accident. They say 
here it was all owing to St. Antonio of Padua, (serious, 
I assure you,) who does thirteen miracles a day, 
that worse did not come of it. I have no objec- 
tion to this being his fourteenth in the four-and- 
twenty-hours. He presides over overturns and all 
escapes therefrom, it seems : and they dedicate 
pictures, &c. to him, as the sailors once did to Nep- 
tune, after the high Roman fashion.' 

" Yours, in haste." 


" Ravenna, March 20. 1820. 

" Last post I sent you * The Vision of Dante,' 
four first Cantos. Enclosed you will find, line for 
line, in third rhyme (terza rima), of which your British 
blackguard reader as yet understands nothing, Fanny 
of Rimini. You know that she was born here, and 
married, and slain, from Gary, Boyd, and such 
people. I have done it into cramp English, line for 
line, and rhyme for rhyme, to try the possibility. 
You had best append it to the poems already sent 
by last three posts. I shall not allow you to play 
the tricks you did last year, with the prose you post' 
scribed to Mazeppa, which I sent to you not to be 
published, if not in a periodical paper, and there 
you tacked it, without a word of explanation. If this 
is published, publish it with the original, and together 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 293 

with the Pulci translation, or the Da?ite imitation. 
I suppose you have both by now, and the Juan long 

" Translation from the Inferno of Dante, Canto 5tk. 

** ' The land where I was born sits by the seas, 
Upon that shore to which the Po descends, 
With all his followers, in search of peace. 

Love, which the gentle heart soon apprehends, 
Seized him for the fair person which was ta'en 
From me, and me even yet the mode offends. 

Love, who to none beloved to love again 

Remits, seized me with wish to please, so strong, 
That, as thou seest, yet, yet it doth remain. 

Love to one death conducted us along, 

But Caina waits for him our life who ended : ' 
These were the accents utter 'd by her tongue, 

Since first I listen'd to these souls offended, 
I bow'd my visage and so kept it till 

C then "| 

' What think'st thou ? ' said the bard ; |_ when J I un- 

And recommenced : * Alas ! unto such ill 

How many sweet thoughts, what strong ecstasies 
Led these their evil fortune to fulfil ! ' 

And then I turn'd unto their side my eyes, 
And said, * Francesca, thy sad destinies 
Have made me sorrow till the tears arise. 

But tell me, in the season of sweet sighs, 
By what and how thy Love to Passion rose, 
So as his dim desires to recognise?* 

Then she to me : * The greatest of all woes 

f recall to mind ~l 
Is to \_ remind us of J our happy days 


In misery, and \ that J thy teacher knows. 
U 3 

294 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

But if to learn our passion's first root preys 

Upon thy spirit with such sympathy, 
p relate ~\ 

I will j_ do * even J as he who weeps and says. 

We read one day for pastime, seated nigh, 

Of Lancilot, how Love enchain'd him too. 

We were alone, quite unsuspiciously, 
But oft our eyes met, and our cheeks in hue 

All o'er discolour'd by that reading were j 

C overthrew ~\ 

But one point only wholly \ us o'erthrew; J 

f desired ~l 

When we read the {_ long-sighed-for J smile of her, 
r a fervent ~\ 

To be thus kiss'd by such (_ devoted J lover, 

He who from me can be divided ne'er 
Kiss'd my mouth, trembling in the act all over. 

Accursed was the book and he who wrote ! 

That day no further leaf we did uncover. 

While thus one Spirit told us of their lot, 

The other wept, so that with pity's thralls 

I swoon r d as if by death I had been smote, 
And fell down even as a dead body falls.' " 


Ravenna, March 23. 1820. 

" I have received your letter of the 7th. Besides 
the four packets you have already received, I have 
sent the Pulci a few days after, and since (a few days 
ago) the four first Cantos of Dante's Prophecy, (the 

* In some of the editions, it is, ' diro,' in others faro ; ' 
an essential difference between ' saying' and ' doing,' which 
I know not how to decide. Ask Foscolo. The d d editions 
drive me mad." 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 295 

best thing I ever wrote, if it be not unintelligible,) 
and by last post a literal translation, word for word 
(versed like the original), of the episode of Francesca 
of Rimini. I want to hear what you think of the 
new Juans, and the translations, and the Vision. 
They are all things that are, or ought to be, very 
different from one another. 

" If you choose to make a print from the Venetian, 
you may; but she don't correspond at all to the 
character you mean her to represent. On the con- 
trary, the Contessa G. does (except that she is fair), 
and is much prettier than the Fornarina ; but I have 
no picture of her except a miniature, which is very 
ill done ; and, besides, it would not be proper, on 
any account whatever, to make such a use of it, even 
if you had a copy. 

" Recollect that the two new Cantos only count 
with us for one. You may put the Pulci and Dante 
together : perhaps that were best. So you have put 
your name to Juan, after all your panic. You are a 
rare fellow. I must now put myself in a passion to 
continue my prose. Yours," &c. 

" I have caused write to Thorwaldsen. Pray be 
careful in sending my daughter's picture I mean, 
that it be not hurt in the carriage, for it is a journey 
rather long and jolting." 


" Ravenna, March 28. 1820. 

" Enclosed is a * Screed of Doctrine' for you, of 
which I will trouble you to acknowledge the receipt 
u 4 

296 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

by next post. Mr. Hobhouse must have the cor- 
rection of it for the press. You may show it first to 
whom you please. 

" I wish to know what became of my two Epistles 
from St. Paul (translated from the Armenian three 

years ago and more), and of the letter to R ts of 

last autumn, which you never have attended to? 
There are two packets with this. 

" P. S. I have some thoughts of publishing the 
' Hints from Horace,' written ten years ago *, if 
Hobhouse can rummage them out of my papers left 
at his father's, with some omissions and altera- 
tions previously to be made when I see the proofs." 


" Ravenna, March 29. 1820. 

" Herewith you will receive a note (enclosed) on 
Pope, which you will find tally with a part of the 
text of last post. I have at last lost all patience 
with the atrocious cant and nonsense about Pope, 
with which our present * * s are overflowing, and 

* When making the observations which occur in the early 
part of this work, on the singular preference given by the 
noble author to the " Hints from Horace," I was not aware 
of the revival of this strange predilection, which (as it appears 
from the above letter, and, still more strongly, from some that 
follow) took place so many years after, in the full maturity of 
his powers and taste. Such a delusion is hardly conceivable, 
and can only, perhaps, be accounted for by that tenaciousness 
of early opinions and impressions by which his mind, in other 
respects so versatile, was characterised. 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 297 

am determined to make such head against it as an 
individual can, by prose or verse ; and I will at 
least do it with good will. There is no bearing it 
any longer ; and if it goes on, it will destroy what 
little good writing or taste remains amongst us. I 
hope there are still a few men of taste to second 
me ; but if not, I'll battle it alone, convinced that it 
is in the best cause of English literature. 

" I have sent you so many packets, verse and 
prose, lately, that you will be tired of the postage, if 
not of the perusal. I want to answer some parts of 
your last letter, but I have not time, for I must 
' boot and saddle,' as my Captain Craigengelt (an 
officer of the old Napoleon Italian army) is in wait- 
ing, and my groom and cattle to boot. 

" You have given me a screed of metaphor and 
what not about Pulci, and manners, and ' going 
without clothes, like our Saxon ancestors.' Now, 
the Saxons did not go without clothes ; and, in the 
next place, they are not my ancestors, nor yours 
either ; for mine were Norman, and yours, I take i 
by your name, were Gael. And, in the next, I 
differ from you about the c refinement ' which has 
banished the comedies of Congreve. Are not the 
comedies of Sheridan acted to the thinnest houses ? 
I know (as ex-committed] that * The School for Scan- 
dal' was the worst stock piece upon record. I 
also know that Congreve gave up writing because 
Mrs. Centlivre's balderdash drove his comedies off. 
So it is not decency, but stupidity, that does all this ; 
for Sheridan is as decent a writer as need be, and 
Congreve no worse than Mrs. Centlivre, of whom 


Wilks (the actor) said, * not only her play would be 
damned, but she too.' He alluded to A Bold 
Stroke for a Wife.' But last, and most to the pur- 
pose, Pulci is not an indecent writer at least in 
his first Canto, as you will have perceived by this 

" You talk of refinement : are you all more 
moral ? are you so moral ? No such thing. / know 
what the world is in England, by my own proper ex- 
perience of the best of it at least of the loftiest; 
and I have described it every where as it is to be 
found in all places. 

" But to return. I should like to see the proofs 
of mine answer, because there will be something to 
omit or to alter. But pray let it be carefully 
printed. When convenient let me have an answer. 

" Yours." 


ft Ravenna, March 31. 1820. 

" Ravenna continues much the same as I de- 
scribed it. Conversazioni all Lent, and much better 
ones than any at Venice. There are small games at 
hazard, that is, faro, where nobody can point more 
than a shilling or two ; other card-tables, and as 
much talk and coffee as you please. Every body 
does and says what they please ; and I do not recol- 
lect any disagreeable events, except being three 
times falsely accused of flirtation, and once being 
robbed of six sixpences by a nobleman of the city, a 
Count * * *. I did not suspect the illustrious 




delinquent ; but the Countess V * * * and the 
Marquis L * * * told me of it directly, and also that 
it was a way he had, of filching money when he 
saw it before him ; but I did not ax him for the 
cash, but contented myself with telling him that if 
he did it again, I should anticipate the law. 

" There is to be a theatre in April, and a fair, and 
an opera, and another opera in June, besides the 
fine weather of nature's giving, and the rides in the 
Forest of Pine. With my best respects to Mrs. 
Hoppner, believe me ever, &c. BYRON. 

" P. S. Could you give me an item of what 
books remain at Venice ? I don't want them, but 
want to know whether the few that are not here 
are there, and were not lost by the way. I hope 
and trust you have got all your wine safe, and that 
it is drinkable. Allegra is prettier, 1 think, but as 
obstinate as a mule, and as ravenous as a vulture : 
health good, to judge of the complexion temper 
tolerable, but for vanity and pertinacity. She thinks 
herself handsome, and will do as she pleases." 


" Ravenna, April 9. 1820. 

" In the name of all the devils in the printing- 
office, why don't you write to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of the second, third, and fourth packets, viz. 
the Pulci translation and original, the I)anticles, the 
Observations on, &c. ? You forget that you keep 
me in hot water till I know whether they are arrived, 
or if 1 must have the bore of re-copying. 


" Have you gotten the cream of translations, 
Francesca of Rimini, from the Inferno? Why, I 
have sent you a warehouse of trash within the last 
month, and you have no sort of feeling about you : 
a pastry-cook would have had twice the gratitude, 
and thanked me at least for the quantity. 

" To make the letter heavier, I enclose you the 
Cardinal Legate's (our Campeius) circular for his 
conversazione this evening. It is the anniversary 
of the Pope's ft'ara-tion, and all polite Christians, 
even of the Lutheran creed, must go and be civil. 
And there will be a circle, and a faro-table, (for 
shillings, that is, they don't allow high play,) and 
all the beauty, nobility, and sanctity of Ravenna 
present. The Cardinal himself is a very good- 
natured little fellow, bishop of Muda, and legate 
here, a decent believer in all the doctrines of the 
church. He has kept his housekeeper these forty 
years * * * * ; but is reckoned a pious man, and a 
moral liver. 

" I am not quite sure that I won't be among you 
this autumn, for I find that business don't go on 
what with trustees and lawyers as it should do, 
' with all deliberate speed.' They differ about in- 
vestments in Ireland. 

" Between the devil and deep sea, 
Between the lawyer and trustee, 

I am puzzled ; and so much time is lost by my not 
being upon the spot, what with answers, demurs, 
rejoinders, that it may be I must come and look to 
it ; for one says do, and t'other don't, so that I know 



not which way to turn : but perhaps they can 
manage without me. 

Yours, &c. 

" P. S. I have begun a tragedy on the subject 
of Marino Faliero, the Doge of Venice ; but you 
sha'n't see it these six years, if you don't acknow- 
ledge my packets with more quickness and pre- 
cision. Always write, if but a line, by return of 
post, when any thing arrives, which is not a mere 

" Address direct to Ravenna ; it saves a week's 
time, and much postage." 


" Ravenna, April 16. 1820. 

" Post after post arrives without bringing any 
acknowledgment from you of the different packets 
(excepting the first) which I sent within the last two 
months, all of which ought to be arrived long ere 
now ; and as they were announced in other letters, 
you ought at least to say whether they are come or 
not. You are not expected to write frequent, or 
long letters, as your time is much occupied; but 
when parcels that have cost some pains in the com- 
position, and great trouble in the copying, are sent 
to you, I should at least be put out of suspense, by 
the immediate acknowledgment, per return of post, 
addressed directly to Ravenna. I am naturally 
knowing what continental posts are anxious to 
hear that they are arrived ; especially as I loathe the 
task of copying so much, that if there was a human 

302 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

being that could copy my blotted MSS. he should 
have all they can ever bring for his trouble. All I 
desire is two lines, to say, such a day I received such 
a packet. There are at least six unacknowledged. 
This is neither kind nor courteous. 

" I have, besides, another reason for desiring 
you to be speedy, which is, that there is THAT brew- 
ing in Italy which will speedily cut off all security 
of communication, and set all your Anglo-travellers 
flying in every direction, with their usual fortitude 
in foreign tumults. The Spanish and French affairs 
have set the Italians in a ferment ; and no wonder : 
they have been too long trampled on. This will 
make a sad scene for your exquisite traveller, but 
not for the resident, who naturally wishes a people 
to redress itself. I shall, if permitted by the natives, 
remain to see what will come of it, and perhaps to 
take a turn with them, like Dugald Dalgetty and 
his horse, in case of business ; for I shall think it 
by far the most interesting spectacle and moment 
in existence, to see the Italians send the barbarians 
of al } nations back to their own dens. I have lived 
long enough among them to feel more for them as 
a nation than for any other people in existence. But 
they want union, and they want principle ; and I 
doubt their success. However, they will try, pro- 
bably, and if they do, it will be a good cause. No 
Italian can hate an Austrian more than I do : unless 
it be the English, the Austrians seem to me the 
most obnoxious race under the sky. 

" But I doubt, if any thing be done, it won't be 
so quietly as in Spain. To be sure, revolutions are 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 303 

not to be made with rose-water, where there are 
foreigners as masters. 

" Write while you can ; for it is but the toss up of 
a paul that there will not be a row that will some- 
what retard the mail by and by. 

Yours," &c. 


" Ravenna, April 18. 1820. 

" I have caused write to Siri and Willhalm to 
send with Vincenza, in a boat, the camp-beds and 
swords left in their care when I quitted Venice. 
There are also several pounds of Mantoris best 
powder in a Japan case; but unless I felt sure of 
getting it away from V. without seizure, I won't 
have it ventured. I can get it in here, by means of 
an acquaintance in the customs, who has offered to 
get it ashore for me; but should like to be certiorated 
of its safety in leaving Venice. I would not lose it 
for its weight in gold there is none such in Italy, 
as I take it to be. 

" I wrote to you a week or so ago, and hope you 
are in good plight and spirits. Sir Humphry Davy 
is here, and was last night at the Cardinal's. As I 
had been there last Sunday, and yesterday was 
warm, I did not go, which I should have done, if I 
had thought of meeting the man of chemistry. He 
called this morning, and I shall go in search of him 
at Corso time. I believe to-day, being Monday, 
there is no great conversazione, and only the family 
one at the Marchese Cavalli's, where I go as ^relation 

304 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

sometimes, so that, unless he stays a day or two, we 
should hardly meet in public. 

" The theatre is to open in May for the fair, if 
there is not a row in all Italy by that time, the 
Spanish business has set them all a constitutioning, 
and what will be the end, no one knows it is also 
necessary thereunto to have a beginning. 

" Yours, &c. 

" P. S. My benediction to Mrs. Hoppner. How 
is your little boy? Allegra is growing, and has 
increased in good looks and obstinacy." 


" Ravenna, April 23. 1820. 

" The proofs don't contain the last stanzas of 
Canto second, but end abruptly with the 105th 

" I told you long ago that the new Cantos * were 
not good, and I also told you a reason. Recollect, I 
do not oblige you to publish them ; you may sup- 
press them, if you like, but I can alter nothing. 1 
have erased the six stanzas about those two impostors 
* * * * (which I suppose will give you 
great pleasure), but I can do no more. I can 
neither recast, nor replace ; but I give you leave to 
put it all into the fire, if you like, or not to publish, 
and I think that's sufficient. 

" I told you that I wrote on with no good will 
that I had been, not frightened, but hurt by the 
outcry, and, besides, that when I wrote last November, 

* Of Don Juan. 


I was ill in body, and in very great distress of mind 
about some private things of my own; but you 
would have it : so I sent it to you, and to make it 
lighter, cut it in two but I can't piece it together 
again. I can't cobble : I must ' either make a spoon 
or spoil a horn,' and there's an end; for there's 
no remeid : but I leave you free will to suppress the 
whole, if you like it. 

" About the Morgante Maggiore, I won't have a 
line omitted. It may circulate, or it may not ; but 
all the criticism on earth sha'n't touch a line, unless 
it be because it is badly translated. Now you say, 
and I say, and others say, that the translation is a 
good one ; and so it shall go to press as it is. Pulci 
must answer for his own irreligion : I answer for the 
translation only. 

" Pray let Mr. Hobhouse look to the Italian next 
time in the proofs : this time, while I am scribbling 
to you, they are corrected by one who passes for 
the prettiest woman in Romagna, and even the 
Marches, as far as Ancona, be the other who she 

" I am glad you like my answer to your enquiries 
about Italian society. It is fit you should like 
something, and be d d to you. 

My love to Scott. I shall think higher of 
knighthood ever after for his being dubbed. By 
the way, he is the first poet titled for his talent 
in Britain : it has happened abroad before now ; but 
on the Continent titles are universal and worthless. 
Why don't you send me Ivanhoe and the Monas- 
tery ? I have never written to Sir Walter, for I know 



he has a thousand things, and I a thousand nothings, 
to do ; but I hope to see him at Abbotsford before 
very long, and I will sweat his claret for him, though 
Italian abstemiousness has made my brain but a 
shilpit concern for a Scotch sitting inter pocula.' 
I love Scott, and Moore, and all the better brethren ; 
but I hate and abhor that puddle of water-worms 
whom you have taken into your troop. 

" Yours, &c. 

" P. S. You say that one half is very good : you 
are wrong ; for, if it were, it would be the finest 
poem in existence. Where is the poetry of which 
one half is good ? is it the JEneid? is it Milton 's ? is 
it Dryden's? is it any one's except Pope's and 
Goldsmith's, of which all is good? and yet these 
two last are the poets your pond poets would 
explode. But if one half of the two new Cantos be 
good in your opinion, what the devil would you 
have more? No no; no poetry is generally good 
only by fits and starts and you are lucky to get 
a sparkle here and there. You might as well want 
a midnight all stars as rhyme all perfect. 

" We are on the verge of a row here. Last night 
they have overwritten all the city walls with * Up 
with the republic!' and ' Death to the Pope!' &c. 
&c. This would be nothing in London, where the 
walls are privileged. But here it is a different 
thing : they are not used to such fierce political in- 
scriptions, and the police is all on the alert, and the 
Cardinal glares pale through all his purple. 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 307 

" April 24. 1820. 8 o'clock, P.M. 
" The police have been, all noon and after, 
searching for the inscribers, but have caught none 
as yet. They must have been all night about it, for 
the ' Live republics Death to Popes and Priests/ 
are innumerable, and plastered over all the palaces : 
ours has plenty. There is ' Down with the Nobility,' 
too ; they are down enough already, for that matter. 
A very heavy rain and wind having come on, I did 
not go out and ' skirr the country;' but I shall 
mount to-morrow, and take a canter among the 
peasantry, who are a savage, resolute race, always 
riding with guns in their hands. I wonder they 
don't suspect the serenaders, for they play on the 
guitar here all night, as in Spain, to their mistresses. 

" Talking of politics, as Caleb Quotem says, pray 
look at the conclusion of my Ode on Waterloo, 
written in the year 1815, and, comparing it with 
the Duke de Berri's catastrophe in 1 820, tell me if 
I have not as good a right to the character of 
* VateS) in both senses of the word, as Fitzgerald 
and Coleridge ? 

" l Crimson tears will follow yet ' 
and have not they ? 

" I can't pretend to foresee what will happen 
among you Englishers at this distance, but I vati- 
cinate a row in Italy ; in whilk case, I don't know 
that I won't have a finger in it. I dislike the 
Austrians, and think the Italians infamously op- 
pressed ; and if they begin, why, I will recommend 
the erection of a sconce upon Drumsnab,' like 
Dugald Dalgetty." 

x 2 

308 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 


" Ravenna, May 8. 1820. 

' From your not having written again, an intention 
which your letter of the 7th ultimo indicated, I 
have to presume that the t Prophecy of Dante' has 
not been found more worthy than its predecessors 
in the eyes of your illustrious synod. In that case, 
you will be in some perplexity; to end which, 1 
repeat to you, that you are not to consider yourself 
as bound or pledged to publish any thing because it 
is mine, but always to act according to your own 
views, or opinions, or those of your friends ; and to 
be sure that you will in no degree offend me by 
< declining the article,' to use a technical phrase. 
The prose observations on John Wilson's attack, I 
do not intend for publication at this time; and I 
send a copy of verses to Mr. Kinnaird (they were 
written last year on crossing the Po) which must 
not be published either. I mention this, because it 
is probable he may give you a copy. Pray recollect 
this, as they are mere verses of society, and written 
upon private feelings and passions. And, moreover, 
I can't consent to any mutilations or omissions of 
Pulci : the original has been ever free from such in 
Italy, the capital of Christianity, and the translation 
may be so in England; though you will think it 
strange that they should have allowed sach freedom 
for many centuries to the Morgante, while the other 
day they confiscated the whole translation of the 
fourth Canto of Childe Harold, and have persecuted 
Leoni, the translator so he writes me, and so I 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 309 

could have told him, had he consulted me before 
his publication. This shows how much more politics 
interest men in these parts than religion. Half a 
dozen invectives against tyranny confiscate Childe 
Harold in a month ; and eight and twenty cantos of 
quizzing monks and knights, and church govern- 
ment, are let loose for centuries. I copy Leoni's 

" ' Non ignorera forse che la mia versione del 
4 Canto del Childe Harold fu confiscata in ogni 
parte: ed io stesso ho dovuto soifrir vessazioni 
altrettanto ridicole quanto illiberaii, ad arte che 
alcuni versi fossero esclusi dalla censura. Ma 
siccome il divieto non fa d'ordinario che accrescere 
la curiosita cosi quel carme sull' Italia & ricercato 
piu che mai, e penso di farlo ristampare in Inghil- 
terra senza nulla escludere. Sciagurata condizione 
di questa mia patria ! se patria si pud chiamare una 
terra cosi avvilita dalla fortuna, dagli uomini, da se 
medesima. ' 

" Rose will translate this to you. Has he had his 
letter ? I enclosed it to you months ago. 

" This intended piece of publication I shall dis- 
suade him from, or he may chance to see the inside 
of St. Angelo's. The last sentence of his letter 
is the common and pathetic sentiment of all his 

" Sir Humphry Davy was here last fortnight, and 
I was in his company in the house of a very pretty 
Italian lady of rank, who, by way of displaying her 
learning in presence of the great chemist, then 
describing his fourteenth ascension to Mount Ve- 
x 3 

310 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

suvius, asked ' if there was not a similar volcano in 
Ireland ? ' My only notion of an Irish volcano con- 
sisted of the lake of Killarney, which I naturally 
conceived her to mean ; but, on second thoughts, I 
divined that she alluded to Iceland and to Hecla 
and so it proved, though she sustained her volcanic 
topography for some time with all the amiable per- 
tinacity of * the feminie.' She soon after turned 
to me and asked me various questions about Sir 
Humphry's philosophy, and I explained as well as an 
oracle his skill in gasen safety lamps, and ungluing 
the Pompeian MSS. But what do you call him?' 
said she. ' A great chemist,' quoth I. What can 
he do ? ' repeated the lady. ' Almost any thing,' 
said I. < Oh, then, mio caro, do pray beg him to 
give me something to dye my eyebrows black. I 
have tried a thousand things, and the colours all 
come off ; and besides, they don't grow ; can't he 
invent something to make them grow?' All this 
with the greatest earnestness; and what you will 
be surprised at, she is neither ignorant nor a fool, 
but really well educated and clever. But they 
speak like children, when first out of their con- 
vents ; and, after all, this is better than an English 
blue -stocking. 

" I did not tell Sir Humphry of this last piece 
of philosophy, not knowing how he might take it. 
Davy was much taken with Ravenna, and the PRIMI- 
TIVE Itolianism of the people, who are unused to 
foreigners : but he only stayed a day. 

" Send me Scott's novels and some news. 

" P. S. I have begun and advanced into the second 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 311 

act of a tragedy on the subject of the Doge's con- 
spiracy (i. e. the story of Marino Faliero) ; but my 
present feeling is so little encouraging on such 
matters, that I begin to think I have mined my 
talent out, and proceed in no great phantasy of 
finding a new vein. 

" P.S. I sometimes think (if the Italians don't rise) 
of coming over to England in the autumn after the 
coronation, (at which I would not appear, on ac- 
count of my family schism,) but as yet I can decide 
nothing. The place must be a great deal changed 
since I left it, now more than four years ago." 


" Ravenna, May 20. 1820. 

" Murray, my dear, make my respects to Thomas 
Campbell, and tell him from me, with faith and 
friendship, three things that he must right in his 
poets : Firstly, he says Anstey's Bath Guide cha- 
racters are taken from Smollett. 'Tis impossible : 
the Guide was published in 1766, and Humphrey 
Clinker in 1771 dunque, 'tis Smollett who has 
taken from Anstey. Secondly, he does not know 
to whom Cowper alludes, when he says that there 
was one who * built a church to God, and then 
blasphemed his name :' it was * Deo erexit Voltaire' 
to whom that maniacal Calvinist and coddled poet 
alludes. Thirdly, he misquotes and spoils a passage 
from Shakspeare, < to gild refined gold, to paint the 
lily,' &c. ; for lily he puts rose, and bedevils in more 
words than one the whole quotation. 
x 4- 

S12 .NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

" Now, Tom is a fine fellow ; but he should be 
correct ; for the first is an injustice (to Anstey), the 
second an ignorance, and the third a blunder. Tell 
him all this, and let him take it in good part ; for I 
might have rammed it into a review and rowed him 
instead of which, I act like a Christian. 

" Yours," &c. 


Ravenna, May 20. 1820. 

" First and foremost, you must forward my letter 
to Moore dated 2d January, which I said you might 
open, but desired you to forward. Now, you should 
really not forget these little things, because they do 
mischief among friends. You are an excellent man, 
a great man, and live among great men, but do pray 
recollect your absent friends and authors. 

" In the first place, your packets ; then a letter 
from Kinnaird, on the most urgent business ; another 
from Moore, about a communication to Lady Byron 
of importance ; a fourth from the mother of Allegra; 
and, fifthly, at Ravenna, the Countess G. is on the 
eve of being separated. But the Italian public are 
on her side, particularly the women, and the men 
also, because they say that he had no business to 
take the business up now after a year of toleration. 
All her relations (who are numerous, high in rank, 
and powerful) are furious against him for his con- 
duct. I am warned to be on my guard, as he is very 
capable of employing sicarii this is Latin as well 
as Italian, so you can understand it ; but I have arms, 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 313 

and don't mind them, thinking that I could pepper 
his ragamuffins, if they don't come unawares, and 
that, if they do, one may as well end that way 
as another ; and it would besides serve you as an 
advertisement : 

" Man may escape from rope or gun, &c. 

But he who takes woman, woman, woman, &c. 


" P. S. I have looked over the press, but heaven 
knows how. Think what I have on hand and the 
post going out to-morrow. Do you remember the 
epitaph on Voltaire ? 

" Ci-git 1'enfant gate",' &c. 

Here lies the spoilt child 

Of the world which he spoil'd.' 

The original is in Grimm and Diderot, &c. &c. &c." 


Ravenna, May 24. 1820. 

" I wrote to you a few days ago. There is also 
a letter of January last for you at Murray's, which 
will explain to you why I am here. Murray ought 
to have forwarded it long ago. I enclose you an 
epistle from a countrywoman of yours at Paris, 
which has moved my entrails. You will have 
the goodness, perhaps, to enquire into the truth 
of her story, and I will help her as far as I can, 
though not in the useless way she proposes. Her 
letter is evidently unstudied, and so natural, that 
the orthography is also in a state of nature. 


" Here is a poor creature, ill and solitary, who 
thinks, as a last resource, of translating you or me 
into French I Was there ever such a notion ? It 
seems to me the consummation of despair. Pray 
enquire, and let me know, and, if you could draw 
a bill on me here for a few hundred francs, at your 
banker's, I will duly honour it, that is, if she is 
not an impostor. * If not, let me know, that I may 
get something remitted by my banker Longhi, of 
Bologna, for I have no correspondence myself, at 
Paris : but tell her she must not translate ; if she 
does, it will be the height of ingratitude. 

" I had a letter (not of the same kind, but in 
French and flattery) from a Madame Sophie Gail, 
of Paris, whom I take to be the spouse of a Gallo- 
Greek of that name. Who is she ? and what is she ? 
and how came she to take an interest in my poeshie 
or its author ? If you know her, tell her, with my 
compliments, that, as I only read French, I have 
not answered her letter ; but would have done so 
in Italian, if I had not thought it would look like an 
affectation. I have just been scolding my monkey 

* According to his desire, I waited upon this young lady, 
having provided myself with a rouleau of fifteen or twenty 
Napoleons to present to her from his Lordship ; but, with a 
very creditable spirit, my young countrywoman declined the 
gift, saying that Lord Byron had mistaken the object of her 
application to him, which was to request that, by allowing her 
to have the sheets of some of his works before publication, he 
would enable her to prepare early translations for the French 
booksellers, and thus afford her the means of acquiring some- 
thing towards a livelihood. 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 315 

for tearing the seal of her letter, and spoiling a 
mock book, in which I put rose leaves. I had a 
civet-cat the other day, too ; but it ran away, after 
scratching my monkey's cheek, and I am in search 
of it still. It was the fiercest beast I ever saw, and 
like * * in the face and manner. 

" I have a world of things to say ; but, as they 
are not come to a denouement, I don't care to begin 
their history till it is wound up. After you went, 
I had a fever, but got well again without bark. 
Sir Humphry Davy was here the other day, and 
liked Ravenna very much. He will tell you any 
thing you may wish to know about the place and 
your humble servitor. 

" Your apprehensions (arising from Scott's) were 
unfounded. There are no damages in this country, 
but there will probably be a separation between 
them, as her family, which is a principal one, by its 
connections, are very much against him, for the 
whole of his conduct ; and he is old and obstinate, 
and she is young and a woman, determined to sacri- 
fice every thing to her affections. I have given her 
the best advice, viz. to stay with him, pointing 
out the state of a separated woman, (for the priests 
won't let lovers live openly together, unless the 
husband sanctions it,) and making the most ex- 
quisite moral reflections, but to no purpose. She 
says, * I will stay with him, if he will let you remain 
with me. It is hard that I should be the only 
woman in Romagna who is not to have her Amico ; 
but, if not, I will not live with him ; and as for the 

316 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

consequences, love, &c. &c. &c.' you know how 
females reason on such occasions. 

" He says he has let it go on till he can do so no 
longer. But he wants her to stay, and dismiss me ; 
for he doesn't like to pay back her dowry and to 
make an alimony. Her relations are rather for the 
separation, as they detest him, indeed, so does 
every body. The populace and the women are, as 
usual, all for those who are in the wrong, viz. the 
lady and her lover. I should have retreated, but 
honour, and an erysipelas which has attacked her, 
prevent me, to say nothing of love, for I love her 
most entirely, though not enough to persuade her 
to sacrifice every thing to a frenzy. ' I see how it 
will end ; she will be the sixteenth Mrs. Shuffleton.' 

" My paper is finished, and so must this letter. 
" Yours ever, B. 

" P. S. I regret that you have not completed the 
Italian Fudges. Pray, how come you to be still in 
Paris ? Murray has four or five things of mine in 
hand the new Don Juan, which his back-shop 
synod don't admire; a translation of the first 
Canto of Pulci's Morgante Maggiore, excellent; 
a short ditto from Dante, not so much approved; 
the Prophecy of Dante, very grand and worthy, &c. 
&c. &c. ; a furious prose answer to Blackwood's 
Observations on Don Juan, with a savage Defence of 
Pope likely to make a row. The opinions above 
I quote from Murray and his Utican senate; you 
will form your own, when you see the things. 

" You will have no great chance of seeing me, for 

1320. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 317 

I begin to think I must finish in Italy. But, if you 
come my way, you shall have a tureen of macaroni. 
Pray tell me about yourself, and your intents. 

" My trustees are going to lend Earl Blessington 
sixty thousand pounds (at six per cent.) on a Dublin 
mortgage. Only think of my becoming an Irish 
absentee ! " 


" Ravenna, May 25. 1820. 

" A German named Ruppsecht has sent me, 
heaven knows why, several Deutsche Gazettes, of 
all which I understand neither word nor letter. I 
have sent you the enclosed to beg you to translate 
to me some remarks, which appear to be Goethe's 
upon Manfred and if I may judge by two notes of 
admiration (generally put after something ridiculous 
by us) and the word ' hypocondrisch,' are any thing 
but favourable. I shall regret this, for I should 
have been proud of Goethe's good word; but I 
sha'n't alter my opinion of him, even though he 
should be savage. 

" Will you excuse this trouble, and do me this 
favour? Never mind soften nothing I am lite- 
rary proof having had good and evil said in most 
modern languages. 

" Believe me," &c. 


" Ravenna, June 1. 1820, 

" I have received a Parisian letter from W. W.> 
which I prefer answering through you, if that worthy 

318 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

be still at Paris, and, as he says, an occasional visiter 
of yours. In November last he wrote to me a well- 
meaning letter, stating, for some reasons of his own, 
his belief that a re-union might be effected between 
Lady B. and myself. To this I answered as usual ; 
and he sent me a second letter, repeating his 
notions, which letter I have never answered, having 
had a thousand other things to think of. He now 
writes as if he believed that he had offended me by 
touching on the topic ; and I wish you to assure him 
that I am. not at all so, but, on the contrary, 
obliged by his good nature. At the same time 
acquaint him the thing is impossible. You know 
this, as well as I, and there let it end. 

" I believe that I showed you his epistle in autumn 
last. He asks me if I have heard of my < laureat' 
at Paris * , somebody who has written < a most 
sanguinary Epitre' against me ; but whether in 
French, or Dutch, or on what score, I know not, 
and he don't say, except that (for my satisfaction) 
he says it is the best thing in the fellow's volume. 
If there is any thing of the kind that I ought to 
know, you will doubtless tell me. I suppose it to 
be something of the usual sort; he says, he don't 
remember the author's name. 

" I wrote to you some ten days ago, and expect 
an answer at your leisure. 

" The separation business still continues, and all 
the world are implicated, including priests and 
cardinals. The public opinion is furious against 

* M. Lamartine. 



him, because he ought to have cut the matter short 
at first, and not waited twelve months to begin. 
He has been trying at evidence, but can get none 
sufficient; for what would make fifty divorces in 
England won't do here there must be the most 
decided proofs. 

" It is the first cause of the kind attempted in 
Ravenna for these two hundred years ; for, though 
they often separate, they assign a different motive. 
You know that the continental incontinent are more 
delicate than the English, and don't like proclaiming 
their coronation in a court, even when nobody 
doubts it. 

" All her relations are furious against him. The 
father has challenged him a superfluous valour, 
for he don't fight, though suspected of two assassi- 
nations one of the famous Monzoni of Forli. 
Warning was given me not to take such long rides 
in the Pine Forest without being on my guard ; so I 
take my stiletto and a pair of pistols in my pocket 
during my daily rides. 

" I won't stir from this place till the matter is 
settled one way or the other. She is as femininely 
firm as possible ; and the opinion is so much against 
him, that the advocates decline to undertake his 
cause, because they say that he is either a fool or a 
rogue fool, if he did not discover the liaison till 
now ; and rogue, if he did know it, and waited, for 
some bad end, to divulge it. In short, there has 
been nothing like it since the days of Guido di 
Polenta's family, in these parts. 

" If the man has me taken off, like Polonius < say, he 

320 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

made a good end,' for a melodrame. The princi- 
pal security is, that he has not the courage to 
spend twenty scudi the average price of a clean- 
handed bravo otherwise there is no want of oppor- 
tunity, for I ride about the woods every evening, 
with one servant, and sometimes an acquaintance, 
who latterly looks a little queer in solitary bits of 

" Good bye. Write to yours ever," &c. 


" Ravenna, June 7. 1820. 

" Enclosed is something which will interest you, to 
wit, the opinion of the greatest man of Germany 
perhaps of Europe upon one of the great men of 
your advertisements, (all * famous hands,' as Jacob 
Tonson used to say of his ragamuffins,) in short, a 
critique of Goethe's upon Manfred. There is the 
original, an English translation, and an Italian one ; 
keep them all in your archives, for the opinions of 
such a man as Goethe, whether favourable or not, 
are always interesting and this is more so, as 
favourable. His Faust I never read, for I don't 
know German; but Matthew Monk Lewis, in 1816, 
at Coligny, translated most of it to me viva voce, 
and I was naturally much struck with it ; but it was 
the Steinbach and the Jungfrau, and something 
else, much more than Faustus, that made me write 
Manfred. The first scene, however, and that of 
Faustus are very similar. Acknowledge this letter. 

" Yours ever. 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 321 

" P. S. I have received Ivanhoe ; good. Pray 
send me some tooth-powder and tincture of myrrh, 
by White, &c. Ricciardetto should have been trans- 
lated literally, or not at all. As to puffing Whistle- 
craft, it wont do. I'll tell you why some day or 
other. Cornwall's a poet, but spoilt by the detest- 
able schools of the day. Mrs. Hemans is a poet 
also, but too stiltified and apostrophic, and quite 
wrong. Men died calmly before the Christian era, 
and since, without Christianity : witness the Romans, 
and, lately, Thistlewood, Sandt, and Lovel men 
who ought to have been weighed down with their 
crimes, even had they believed. A deathbed is a 
matter of nerves and constitution, and not of reli- 
gion. Voltaire was frightened, Frederick of Prussia 
not : Christians the same, according to their strength 
rather than their creed. What does H * * H * * 
mean by his stanza? which is octave got drunk or 
gone mad. He ought to have his ears boxed with 
Thor's hammer for rhyming so fantastically." 

The following is the article from Goethe's " Kunst 
und Alterthum," enclosed in this letter. The grave 
confidence with which the venerable critic traces the 
fancies of his brother poet to real persons and events, 
making no difficulty even of a double murder at Flo- 
rence to furnish grounds for his theory, affords an 
amusing instance of the disposition so prevalent 
throughout Europe, to picture Byron as a man of 
marvels and mysteries, as well in his life as his 
poetry. To these exaggerated, or wholly false no- 
tions of him, the numerous fictions palmed upon the 


322 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

world of his romantic tours and wonderful adventures 
in places he never saw, and with persons that never 
existed *, have, no doubt, considerably contributed ; 
and the consequence is, so utterly out of truth and 
nature are the representations of his life and cha- 
racter long current upon the Continent, that it may 
be questioned whether the real " flesh and blood " 
hero of these pages, the social, practical-minded, 
and, with all his faults and eccentricities, English 
Lord Byron, may not, to the over-exalted imagin- 
ations of most of his foreign admirers, appear but an 
ordinary, unromantic, and prosaic personage. 



" Byron's tragedy, Manfred, was to me a wonder- 
ful phenomenon, and one that closely touched me. 
This singular intellectual poet has taken my Faustus 
to himself, and extracted from it the strongest 
nourishment for his hypochondriac humour. He has 
made use of the impelling principles in his own way, 

* Of this kind are the accounts, filled with all sorts of cir- 
cumstantial wonders, of his residence in the island of Myti- 
lene; his voyages to Sicily, to Ithaca, with the Countess 
Guiccioli, &c. &c. But the most absurd, perhaps, of all 
these fabrications, are the stories told by Pouqueville, of the 
poet's religious conferences in the cell of Father Paul, at 
Athens; and the still more unconscionable fiction in which 
Rizo has indulged, in giving the details of a pretended thea- 
trical scene, got up (according to this poetical historian) be- 
tween Lord Byron and the Archbishop of Arta, at the tomb 
of Botzaris, in Missolonghi. 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 323 

for his own purposes, so that no one of them remains 
the same ; and it is particularly on this account that 
I cannot enough admire his genius. The whole is 
in this way so completely formed anew, that it would 
be an interesting task for the critic to point out 
not only the alterations he has made, but their 
degree of resemblance with, or dissimilarity to, the 
original : in the course of which I cannot deny that 
the gloomy heat of an unbounded and exuberant 
despair becomes at last oppressive to us. Yet is the 
dissatisfaction we feel always connected with esteem 
and admiration. 

" We find thus in this tragedy the quintessence 
of the most astonishing talent born to be its own 
tormentor. The character of Lord Byron's life and 
poetry hardly permits a just and equitable appreci- 
ation. He has often enough confessed what it is 
that torments him. He has repeatedly pourtrayed 
it ; and scarcely any one feels compassion for this 
intolerable suffering, over which he is ever labo- 
riously ruminating. There are, properly speaking, 
two females whose phantoms for ever haunt him, and 
which, in this piece also, perform principal parts 
one under the name of Astarte, the other without 
form or actual presence, and merely a voice. Of 
the horrid occurrence which took place with the 
former, the following is related : When a bold and 
enterprising young man, he won the affections of a 
Florentine lady. Her husband discovered the amour, 
and murdered his wife ; but the murderer was the 
same night found dead in the street, and there was 
Y 2 

S24? NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

no one on whom any suspicion could be attached. 
Lord Byron removed from Florence, and these 
spirits haunted him all his life after, 

" This romantic incident is rendered highly pro- 
bable by innumerable allusions to it in his poems. 
As, for instance, when turning his sad contempla- 
tions inwards, he applies to himself the fatal history 
of the king of Sparta. It is as follows : Pausanias, 
a Lacedemonian general, acquires glory by the im- 
portant victory at Plataea, but afterwards forfeits the 
confidence of his countrymen through his arrogance, 
obstinacy, and secret intrigues with the enemies of 
his country. This man draws upon himself the 
heavy guilt of innocent blood, which attends him to 
his end ; for, while commanding the fleet of the 
allied Greeks, in the Black Sea, he is inflamed with 
a violent passion for a Byzantine maiden. After 
long resistance, he at length obtains her from her 
parents, and she is to be delivered up to him at 
night. She modestly desires the servant to put out 
the lamp, and, while groping her way in the dark, 
she overturns it. Pausanias is awakened from his 
sleep apprehensive of an attack from murderers, 
he seizes his sword, and destroys his mistress. The 
horrid sight never leaves him. Her shade pursues 
him unceasingly, and he implores for aid in vain from 
the gods and the exorcising priests. 

" That poet must have a lacerated heart who 
selects such a scene from antiquity, appropriates it 
to himself, and burdens his tragic image with it. 
The following soliloquy, which is overladen with 
gloom and a weariness of life, is, by this remark, ren- 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 325 

dered intelligible. We recommend it as an exercise 
to all friends of declamation. Hamlet's soliloquy 
appears improved upon here." * 


" Ravenna, June 9. 1820. 

" Galignani has just sent me the Paris edition of 
your Vorks (which I wrote to order), and I am glad 
to see my old friends with a French face. I have 
been skimming and dipping, in and over them, like 
a swallow, and as pleased as one. It is the first time 
that I had seen the Melodies without music ; and, 
I don't know how, but I can't read in a music-book 
the crotchets confound the words in my head, 
though I recollect them perfectly when sung. Music 
assists my memory through the ear, not through the 
eye ; I mean, that her quavers perplex me upon 
paper, but they are a help when heard. And thus I 
was glad to see the words without their borrowed 
robes ; to my mind they look none the worse for 
their nudity. 

" The biographer has made a botch of your life 
calling your father * a venerable old gentleman,' and 
prattling of ' Addison,' and * dowager countesses.' 
If that damned fellow was to write my life, I would 
certainly take his. And then, at the Dublin dinner, 
you have * made a speech ' (do you recollect, at 

* The critic here subjoins the soliloquy from Manfred, be- 
ginning " We are the fools of time and terror," in which the 
allusion to Pausanias occurs. 

Y 3 

326 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

Douglas K.'s, Sir, he made me a speech ? ') too 
complimentary to the < living poets,' and somewhat 
redolent of universal praise. / am but too well off 
in it, but * * *. 

" You have not sent me any poetical or personal 
news of yourself. Why don't you complete an 
Italian Tour of the Fudges ? I have just been turn- 
ing over Little, which I knew by heart in 1803, 
being then in my fifteenth summer. Heigho ! I be- 
lieve all the mischief I have ever done, or sung, has 
been owing to that confounded book of yours. 

" In my last I told you of a cargo of ' Poeshie,' 
which I had sent to M. at his own impatient desire J 
and, now he has got it, he don't like it, and de- 
murs. Perhaps he is right. I have no great 
opinion of any of my last shipment, except a trans- 
lation from Pulci, which is word for word, and verse 
for verse. 

" I am in the third Act of a Tragedy ; but 
whether it will be finished or not, I know not : I 
have, at this present, too many passions of my own 
on hand to do justice to those of the dead. Besides 
the vexations mentioned in my last, I have incurred 
a quarrel with the Pope's carabiniers, or gens 
d'armerie, who have petitioned the Cardinal against 
my liveries, as resembling too nearly their own lousy 
uniform. They particularly object to the epaulettes, 
which all the world with us have on upon gala days. 
My liveries are of the colours conforming to my 
arms, and have been the family hue since the year 

" I have sent a tranchant reply, as you may sup- 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 327 

pose ; and have given to understand that, if any 
soldados of that respectable corps insult my ser- 
vants, I will do likewise by their gallant comman- 
ders ; and I have directed my ragamuffins, six in 
number, who are tolerably savage, to defend them- 
selves, in case of aggression ; and, on holidays and 
gaudy days, I shall arm the whole set, including my- 
self, in case of accidents or treachery. I used to play 
pretty well at the broad-sword, once upon a time, at 
Angelo's ; but I should like the pistol, our national 
buccaneer weapon, better, though I am out of prac- 
tice at present. However, I can ' wink and hold out 
mine iron.' It makes me think (the whole thing does) 
of Romeo and Juliet * now, Gregory, remember 
thy swashing blow.' 

" All these feuds, however, with the Cavalier for 
his wife, and the troopers for my liveries, are very 
tiresome to a quiet man, who does his best to please 
all the world, and longs for fellowship and good will. 
Pray write. I am yours," &c. 


" Ravenna, July 13. 1820. 

" To remove or increase your Irish anxiety about 
my being * in a wisp*,' I answer your letter forth- 
with ; premising that, as I am a ' Will of the wisp,' 
I may chance to flit out of it. But, first, a word on 
the Memoir ; I have no objection, nay, I would 
rather that one correct copy was taken and deposit- 

* An Irish phrase for being in a scrape. 
Y 4. 



ed in honourable hands, in case of accidents happen- 
ing to the original ; for you know that I have none, 
and have never even re-read, nor, indeed, read at all 
what is there written ; I only know that I wrote it 
with the fullest intention to be l faithful and true ' 
in my narrative, but not impartial no, by the 
Lord ! I can't pretend to be that, while I feel. But 
I wish to give every body concerned the opportunity 
to contradict or correct me. 

" I have no objection to any proper person seeing 
what is there written, seeing it was written, like 
every thing else, for the purpose of being read, how- 
ever much many writings may fail in arriving at that 

" With regard to ' the wisp,' the Pope has pro- 
nounced their separation. The decree came yester- 
day from Babylon, it was she and her friends who 
demanded it, on the grounds of her husband's (the 
noble Count Cavalier's) extraordinary usage. He 
opposed it with all his might because of the alimony, 
which has been assigned, with all her goods, chat- 
tels, carriage, &c. to be restored by him. In Italy 
they can't divorce. He insisted on her giving me 
up, and he would forgive every thing, * * 
* * * * * 

* * * But, in this country, the very 
courts hold such proofs in abhorrence, the Italians 
being as much more delicate in public than the 
English, as they are more passionate in private. 

" The friends and relatives, who are numerous and 
powerful, reply to him ' You, yourself, are either 
fool or knave, fool, if you did not see the conse- 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 329 

quences of the approximation of these two young 
persons, knave, if you connive at it. Take your 
choice, but don't break out (after twelve months of 
the closest intimacy, under your own eyes and posi- 
tive sanction) with a scandal, which can only make 
you ridiculous and her unhappy.' 

" He swore that he thought our intercourse was 
purely amicable, and that / was more partial to him 
than to her, till melancholy testimony proved the 
contrary. To this they answer, that * Will of this 
wisp' was not an unknown person, and that ' clamosa 
Fama' had not proclaimed the purity of my morals ; 
that her brother, a year ago, wrote from Rome to 
warn him that his wife would infallibly be led astray 
by this ignis fatuus, unless he took proper measures, 
all of which he neglected to take, &c. &c. 

" Now he says that he encouraged my return to 
Ravenna, to see * in quantipiedi di acqua siamo,' and 
he has found enough to drown him in. In short, 

" * Ce ne fut pas le tout ; sa femme se plaignit 
Proces La parente se joint en excuse et dit 
Que du Docteur venoit tout le mauvais manage ; 
Que cet homme e"toit fou, que sa femme etoit sage. 
On fit casser le mariage.' 

It is but to let the women alone, in the way of con- 
flict, for they are sure to win against the field. She 
returns to her father's house, and I can only see her 
under great restrictions such is the custom of the 
country. The relations behave very well : I offered 
any settlement, but they refused to accept it, and 
swear she shdrit live with G. (as he has tried to 
prove her faithless), but that he shall maintain her ; 


and, in fact, a judgment to this effect came yester- 
day. I am, of course, in an awkward situation 

" I have heard no more of the carabiniers who pro- 
tested against my liveries. They are not popular, 
those same soldiers, and, in a small row, the other 
night, one was slain, another wounded, and divers 
put to flight, by some of the Romagnuole youth, who 
are dexterous, and somewhat liberal of the knife. 
The perpetrators are not discovered, but I hope 
and believe that none of my ragamuffins were in it, 
though they are somewhat savage, and secretly 
armed, like most of the inhabitants. It is their way, 
and saves sometimes a good deal of litigation. 

" There is a revolution at Naples. If so, it will 
probably leave a card at Ravenna in its way to Lom- 

" Your publishers seem to have used you like mine. 
M. has shuffled, and almost insinuated that my last 
productions are dull. Dull, sir ! damme, dull ! 
I believe he is right. He begs for the completion of 
my tragedy on Marino Faliero, none of which is yet 
gone to England. The fifth act is nearly completed, 
but it is dreadfully long 40 sheets of long paper 
of 4 pages each about 150 when printed ; but 
' so full of pastime and prodigality ' that I think it 
will do. 

" Pray send and publish your Pome upon me ; and 
don't be afraid of praising me too highly. I shall 
pocket my blushes. 

" Not actionable ! ' Chantre cfenfer /* by * * 

* The title given him by M. Lamartine, in one of his 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 331 

that's 'a speech,' and I won't put up with it. A 
pretty title to give a man for doubting if there be 
any such place ! 

" So my Gail is gone and Miss Mahoray won't 
take money. I am very glad of it I like to be 
generous free of expense. But beg her not to 
translate me. 

" Oh, pray tell Galignani that I shall send him a 
screed of doctrine if he don't be more punctual. 
Somebody regularly detains two, and sometimes four, 
of his Messengers by the way. Do, pray, entreat 
him to be more precise. News are worth money in 
this remote kingdom of the Ostrogoths. 

" Pray, reply. I should like much to share some 
of your Champagne and La Fitte, but I am too 
Italian for Paris in general. Make Murray send my 
letter to you it is full of epigrams. 

" Yours," &c. 

In the separation that had now taken place be- 
tween Count Guiccioli and his wife, it was one of 
the conditions that the lady should, in future, reside 
under the paternal roof: in consequence of which, 
Madame Guiccioli, on the 16th of July, left Ravenna 
and retired to a villa belonging to Count Gamba, 
about fifteen miles distant from that city. Here 
Lord Byron occasionally visited her about once 
or twice, perhaps, in a month passing the rest of 
his time in perfect solitude. To a mind like his, 
whose world was within itself, such a mode of life 
could have been neither new nor unwelcome ; but 
to the woman, young and admired, whose acquaint- 

332 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

ance with the world and its pleasures had but just 
begun, this change was, it must be confessed, most 
sudden and trying. Count Guiccioli was rich, and, 
as a young wife, she had gained absolute power over 
him. She was proud, and his station placed her 
among the highest in Ravenna. They had talked of 
travelling to Naples, Florence, Paris, and every 
luxury, in short, that wealth could command was at 
her disposal. 

All this she now voluntarily and determinedly 
sacrificed for Byron. Her splendid home abandoned 
her relations all openly at war with her her 
kind father but tolerating, from fondness, what he 
could not approve she was now, upon a pittance 
of C 200l. a year, living apart from the world, her sole 
occupation the task of educating herself for her 
illustrious friend, and her sole reward the few brief 
glimpses of him which their now restricted inter- 
course allowed. Of the man who could inspire and 
keep alive so devoted a feeling, it may be pronounced 
with confidence that he could not have been such 
as, in the freaks of his own wayward humour, he re- 
presented himself; while, on the lady's side, the 
whole history of her attachment goes to prove how 
completely an Italian woman, whether by nature or 
from her social position, is led to invert the usual 
course of such frailties among ourselves, and, weak 
in resisting the first impulses of passion, to reserve 
the whole strength of her character for a display of 
constancy and devotedness afterwards. 

1820. LIFE OF LORD El'RON. 333" 


" Ravenna, July 17. 1820. 

" I have received some books, and Quarterlies, and 
Edinburghs, for all which I am grateful : they con- 
tain all I know of England, except by Galignani's 

" The tragedy is completed, but now comes the 
task of copy and correction. It is very long, (42 
sheets of long paper, of four pages each,) and I be- 
lieve must make more than 140 or 150 pages, besides 
many historical extracts as notes, which I mean to 
append. History is closely followed. Dr. Moore's 
account is in some respects false, and in all foolish 
and flippant. None of the chronicles (and I have 
consulted Sanuto, Sandi, Navagero, and an anony- 
mous Siege of Zara, besides the histories of Laugier, 
Daru, Sismondi, &c.) state, or even hint, that he 
begged his life ; they merely say that he did not 
deny the conspiracy. He was one of their great 
men, commanded at the siege of Zara, beat 
80,000 Hungarians, killing 8000, and at the same 
time kept the town he was besieging in order, 
took Capo d'Istria, was ambassador at Genoa, 
Rome, and finally Doge, where he fell for treason, 
in attempting to alter the government, by what Sa- 
nuto calls a judgment on him for, many years before 
(when Podesta and Captain of Treviso), having 
knocked down a bishop, who was sluggish in carry- 
ing the host at a procession. He ' saddles him/ as 
Thwackum did Square, 'with a judgment;' but he 
does not mention whether he had been punished at 

334? NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

the time for what would appear very strange, even 
now, and must have been still more so in an age of 
papal power and glory. Sanuto says, that Heaven 
took away his senses for this buffet, and induced him 
to conspire. ' Pero fu permesso che il Faliero per- 
dette 1' intelletto,' &c. 

" I do not know what your parlour-boarders will 
think of the Drama I have founded upon this extra- 
ordinary event. The only similar one in history is 
the story of Agis, King of Sparta, a prince with the 
commons against the aristocracy, and losing his life 
therefor. But it shall be sent when copied. 

" I should be glad to know why your Quar tering 
Reviewers, at the close of * The Fall of Jerusalem,' 
accuse me of Manicheism ? a compliment to which 
the sweetener of ' one of the mightiest spirits ' by 
no means reconciles me. The poem they review is 
very noble ; but could they not do justice to the 
writer without converting him into my religious an- 
tidote ? I am not a Manichean, nor an Any-chean. 
I should like to know what harm my 'poeshies' 
have done ? I can't tell what people mean by making 
me a hobgoblin." 


" Ravenna, August 31. 1820. 

" I have * put my soul ' into the tragedy (as you 
if it) ; but you know that there are d d souls as 
well as tragedies. Recollect that it is not a political 
play, though it may look like it : it is strictly his- 
torical. Read the history and judge. 

" Ada's picture is her mother's. I am glad of it 



the mother made a good daughter. Send me 

Gifford's opinion, and never mind the Archbishop. I 
can neither send you away, nor give you a hundred 
pistoles, nor a better taste : I send you a tragedy, 
and you ask for * facetious epistles ; ' a little like 
your predecessor, who advised Dr. Prideaux to 
' put some more humour into his Life of Mahomet.' 

" Bankes is a wonderful fellow. There is hardly 
one of my school or college contemporaries that has 
not turned out more or less celebrated. Peel, 
Palmerstone, Bankes, Hobhouse, Tavistock, Bob 
Mills, Douglas Kinnaird, &c. &c. have all talked 
and been talked about. 

" We are here going to fight a little next month, 
if the Huns don't cross the Po, and probably if they 
do. I can't say more now. If any thing happens, 
you have matter for a posthumous work, in MS. ; so 
pray be civil. Depend upon it, there will be savage 
work, if once they begin here. The French courage 
proceeds from vanity, the German from phlegm, the 
Turkish from fanaticism and opium, the Spanish 
from pride, the English from coolness, the Dutch 
from obstinacy, the Russian from insensibility, but 
the Italian from anger ; so you'll see that they will 
spare nothing." 


" Ravenna, August 31. 1820. 

" D n your ' mezzo cammin*' you should say 
* the prime of life,' a much more consolatory phrase. 

* I had congratulated him upon arriving at what Dante 
calls the " mezzo cammin" of life, the age of thirty-three. 

336 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

Besides, it is not correct. I was born in 1788, and 
consequently am but thirty-two. You are mistaken 
on another point. The ' Sequin Box ' never came 
into requisition, nor is it likely to do so. It were 
better that it had, for then a man is not bound, you 
know. As to reform, I did reform what would you 
have ? t Rebellion lay in his way, and he found it. f 
I verily believe that nor you, nor any man of poetical 
temperament, can avoid a strong passion of some 
kind. It is the poetry of life. What should I have 
known or written, had I been a quiet, mercantile 
politician, or a lord in waiting ? A man must travel, 
and turmoil, or there is no existence. Besides, I 
only meant to be a Cavalier Servente, and had no 
idea it would turn out a romance, in the Anglo 

" However, I suspect I know a thing or two of 
Italy more than Lady Morgan has picked up in 
her posting. What do Englishmen know of Italians 
beyond their museums and saloons and some hack 
* *, en passant? Now, I have lived in the heart of 
their houses, in parts of Italy freshest and least in- 
fluenced by strangers, have seen and become (pars 
magnafui) a portion of their hopes, and fears, and 
passions, and am almost inoculated into a family. 
This is to see men and things as they are. 

" You say that I called you ' quiet * ' I don't 
recollect any thing of the sort. On the contrary, 
you are always in scrapes. 

* I had mistaken the concluding words of his letter of the 
9th of June. 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 337 

" What think you of the Queen ? I hear Mr. 
Hoby says, ' that it makes him weep to see her, she 
reminds him so much of Jane Shore.' 

" Mr. Hoby the bootmaker's heart is quite sore, 
For seeing the Queen makes him think of Jane Shore ; 
And, in fact, * * 

Pray excuse this ribaldry. What is your poem 
about ? Write and tell me all about it and you. 

" Yours, &c. 

" P. S. Did you write the lively quiz on Peter 
Bell ? It has wit enough to be yours, and almost 
too much to be any body else's now going. It was 
in Galignani the other day or week." 


" Ravenna, September 7. 1820. 

" In correcting the proofs you must refer to the 
manuscript, because there are in it various readings. 
Pray attend to this, and choose what GifFord thinks 
best, Let me hear what he thinks of the whole. 

" You speak of Lady * * 's illness ; she is not of 
those who die : the amiable only do ; and those 
whose death would do good live. Whenever she is 
pleased to return, it may be presumed she will take 
her * divining rod ' along with her : it may be of 
use to her at home, as well as to the ' rich man ' of 
the Evangelists. 

" Pray do not let the papers paragraph me back to 
England. They may say what they please, any 
loathsome abuse but that. Contradict it. 

VOL. iv. z 

338 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

" My last letters will have taught you to expect 
an explosion here : it was primed and loaded, but 
they hesitated to fire the train. One of the cities 
shirked from the league. I cannot write more at 
large for a thousand reasons. Our ' puir hill folk ' 
offered to strike, and raise the first banner, but Bo- 
logna paused ; and now 'tis autumn, and the season 
half over. ( O Jerusalem ! Jerusalem I ' The Huns 
are on the Po ; but if once they pass it on their way 
to Naples, all Italy will be behind them. The dogs 
the wolves may they perish like the host of 
Sennacherib ! If you want to publish the Prophecy 
of Dante, you never will have a better time." 


Ravenna, Sept. 11. 182O. 

" Here is another historical note for you. I want 
to be as near truth as the drama can be. 

" Last post I sent you a note fierce as Faliero 
himself*, in answer to a trashy tourist, who pre- 
tends that he could have been introduced to me. Let 
me have a proof of it, that I may cut its lava into 
some shape. 

" What Gifford says is very consolatory (of the 
first act). English, sterling genuine English, is a 
desideratum amongst you, and I am glad that I have 

* The angry note against English travellers appended to 
this tragedy, in consequence of an assertion made by some 
recent tourist, that he (or as it afterwards turned out, she) 
'* had repeatedly declined an introduction to Lord Byron 
while in Italy." 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BY11ON- 339 

got so much left ; though Heaven knows how I 
retain it : I hear none but from my valet, and his is 
Nottinghamshire : and I see none but in your new 
publications, and theirs is no language at all, but 
jargon. Even your * * * * is terribly stilted and 
affected, with < very, very ' so soft and pamby. 

" Oh ! if ever I do come amongst you again, I 
will give you such a < Baviad and Maeviad ! ' not as 
good as the old, but even better merited. There 
never was such a set as your ragamuffins (I mean 
not yours only, but every body's). What with the 
Cockneys, and the Lakers, and the followers of 
Scott, and Moore, and Byron, you are in the very 
uttermost decline and degradation of literature. I 
can't think of it without all the remorse of a mur- 
derer. I wish that Johnson were alive again to 
crush them I " 


" Ravenna, Sept. 14. 1820. 

" What ! not a line ? Well, have it your own 

" I wish you would inform Perry, that his stupid 
paragraph is the cause of all my newspapers being 
stopped in Paris. The fools believe me in your in- 
fernal country, and have not sent on their gazettes, 
so that I know nothing of your beastly trial of the 

" I cannot avail myself of Mr. Gifford's remarks, 
because I have received none, except on the first 
act. Yours, &c. 

z 2 


" P. S. Do, pray, beg the editors of papers to say 
any thing blackguard they please ; but not to put 
me amongst their arrivals. They do me more mis- 
chief by such nonsense than all their abuse can do." 


" Ravenna, Sept. 21. 182O. 

" So you are at your old tricks again. This is 
the second packet I have received unaccompanied 
by a single line of good, bad, or indifferent. It is 
strange that you have never forwarded any further 
observations of Gifford's. How am I to alter or 
amend, if I hear no further ? or does this silence 
mean that it is well enough as it is, or too bad to be 
repaired ? If the last, why do you not say so at 
once, instead of playing pretty, while you know that 
soon or late you must out with the truth. 

" Yours, &c. 

" P. S. My sister tells me that you sent to her 
to enquire where I was, believing in my arrival, 
' driving a curricle,' &c. &c. into Palace-yard. Do 
you think me a coxcomb or a madman, to be capable 
of such an exhibition ? My sister knew me better, 
and told you, that could not be me. You might as 
well have thought me entering on ' a pale horse,' 
like Death in the Revelations." 


" Ravenna, Sept. 23. 1820. 

" Get from Mr. Hobhouse, and send me a proof 
(with the Latin) of my Hints from Horace : it has 


now the nonum prematur in annum complete for its 
production, being written at Athens in 181 1. I have 
a notion that, with some omissions of names and pas- 
sages, it will do ; and I could put my late observ- 
ations for Pope amongst the notes, with the date of 
1820, and so on. As far as versification goes, it is 
good ; and, on looking back to what I wrote about 
that period, I am astonished to see how little I have 
trained on. I wrote better then than now ; but that 
comes of my having fallen into the atrocious bad 
taste of the times. If I can trim it for present 
publication, what with the other things you have 
of mine, you will have a volume or two of variety 
at least, for there will be all measures, styles, and 
topics, whether good or no. I am anxious to hear 
what Gifford thinks of the tragedy : pray let me 
know. I really do not know what to think myself. 

" If the Germans pass the Po, they will be treated 
to a mass out of the Cardinal de Retz's Breviary, 
* * 's a fool, and could not understand this : Frere 
will. It is as pretty a conceit as you would wish to 
see on a summer's day. 

" Nobody here believes a word of the evidence 
against the Queen. The very mob cry shame against 
their countrymen, and say, that for half the money 
spent upon the trial, any testimony whatever may 
be brought out of Italy. This you may rely upon 
as fact. I told you as much before. As to what 
travellers report, what are travellers ? Now I have 
lived among the Italians not Plorenced, and Romed, 
and galleried, and conversationed it for a few months, 
and then home again; but been of their families, 
z 3 

34>2 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

and friendships, and feuds, and loves, and councils, 
and correspondence, in a part of Italy least known 
to foreigners, and have been amongst them of all 
classes, from the Conte to the Contadine ; and you 
may be sure of what I say to you. 

Yours," &c. 


" Ravenna, Sept. 28. 1820. 

I thought that I had told you long ago, that it 
never was intended nor written with any view to 
the stage. I have said so in the preface too. It is 
too long and too regular for your stage, the persons 
too few, and the unity too much observed. It is 
more like a play of Alfieri's than of your stage (I say 
this humbly in speaking of that great man) ; but 
there is poetry, and it is equal to Manfred, though 
I know not what esteem is held of Manfred. 

" I have now been nearly as long out of England 
as I was there during the time I saw you frequently. 
I came home July 14th, 1811, and left again April 
25th, 1816: so that Sept. 28th, 1820, brings me 
within a very few months of the same duration of 
time of my stay and my absence. In course, I can 
know nothing of the public taste and feelings, but 
from what I glean from letters, &c. Both seem to 
be as bad as possible. 

" I thought Anastasius excellent: did I not say so ? 
Matthews's Diary most excellent ; it, and Forsyth, 
and parts of Hobhouse, are all we have of truth 
or sense upon Italy. The Letter to Julia very good 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 343 

indeed. I do not despise ******; but if she knit 
blue stockings instead of wearing them, it would be 
better. You are taken in by that false stilted trashy 
style, which is a mixture of all the styles of the day, 
which are all bombastic (I don't except my own no 
one has done more through negligence to corrupt 
the language) ; but it is neither English nor poetry. 
Time will show. 

" I am sorry Gifford has made no further remarks 
beyond the first Act : does he think all the English 
equally sterling as he thought the first ? You did 
right to send the proofs : I was a fool ; but I do really 
detest the sight of proofs : it is an absurdity ; but 
comes from laziness. 

" You can steal the two Juans into the world 
quietly, tagged to the others. The play as you will 
the Dante too ; but the Pulci I am proud of: it 
is superb ; you have no such translation. It is the 
best thing I ever did in my life. I wrote the play 
from beginning to end, and not a single scene without 
interruption, and being obliged to break off in the 
middle ; for I had my hands full, and my head, too, 
just then; so it can be no great shakes I mean 
the play ; and the head too, if you like. 

" P. S. Politics here still savage and uncertain . 
However, we are all in our < bandaliers,' to join the 
Highlanders if they cross the Forth,' *. e. to crush 
the Austrians if they cross the Po. The rascals ! 
and that dog Liverpool, to say their subjects are 
happy / If ever I come back, I'll work some of these 

344 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

" Sept. 29. 

" I opened my letter to say, that on reading more 
of the four volumes on Italy, where the author says 
.' declined an introduction,' I perceive (horresco re- 
ferens) it is written by a WOMAN ! ! I In that case 
you must suppress my note and answer, and all I 
have said about the book and the writer. I never 
dreamed of it until now, in my extreme wrath at 
that precious note. I can only say that I am sorry 
that a lady should say any thing of the kind. What 
I would have said to one of the other sex you know 
already. Her book too (as a she book) is not a bad 
one ; but she evidently don't know the Italians, or 
rather don't like them, and forgets the causes of their 
misery and profligacy (Matthews and Forsyth are 
your men for truth and tact), and has gone over 
Italy in company always a bad plan : you must 
be alone with people to know them well. Ask her, 
who was the * descendant of Lady M. W. Montague,' 
and by whom ? by Algarotti ? 

" I suspect that, in Marino Faliero, you and yours 
won't like the politics, which are perilous to you in 
these times ; but recollect that it is not a political 
play, and that I was obliged to put into the mouths 
of the characters the sentiments upon which they 
acted. I hate all things written like Pizarro, to 
represent France, England, and so forth. All I have 
done is meant to be purely Venetian, even to the 
very prophecy of its present state. 

" Your Angles in general know little of the 
Italians, who detest them for their numbers and 
their GENOA treachery. Besides, the English tra- 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 345 

vellers have not been composed of the best company. 
How could they? out of 100,000, how many 
gentlemen were there, or honest men ? 

" Mitchell's Aristophanes is excellent. Send me 
the rest of it. 

" These fools will force me to write a book about 
Italy myself, to give them ' the loud lie.' They 
prate about assassination ; what is it but the origin 
of duelling and * a wild justice? as Lord Bacon 
calls it ? It is the fount of the modern point of 
honour in what the laws can't or wont reach. Every 
man is liable to it more or less, according to cir- 
cumstances or place. For instance, I am living 
here exposed to it daily, for I have happened to 
make a powerful and unprincipled man my enemy ; 
and I never sleep the worse for it, or ride in less 
solitary places, because precaution is useless, and 
one thinks of it as of a disease which may or may 
not strike. It is true that there are those here, 
who, if he did, would * live to think on't;' but that 
would not awake my bones : I should be sorry if it 
would, were they once at rest." 


" Ravenna, 8bre 6, 1820. 

u You will have now received all the Acts, cor- 
rected, of the Marino Faliero. What you say of 
the * bet of 100 guineas' made by some one who 
says that he saw me last week, reminds me of what 
happened in 1810: you can easily ascertain the 
fact, and it is an odd one 


" In the latter end of 1 81 1, I met one evening at 
the Alfred my old school and form fellow (for we 
were within two of each other, he the higher, though 
both very near the top of our remove,) Peel, the Irish 
secretary. He told me that, in 1810, he met me, 
as he thought, in St. James's Street, but we passed 
without speaking. He mentioned this, and it was 
denied as impossible, I being then in Turkey. A 
day or two afterward, he pointed out to his brother 
a person on the opposite side of the way : * There,' 
said he, ' is the man whom I took for Byron.' His 
brother instantly answered, * Why, it is Byron, and 
no one else.' But this is not all : I was seen by 
somebody to write down my name amongst the en- 
quirers after the King's health, then attacked by 
insanity. Now, at this very period, as nearly as I 
could make out, I was ill of a strong fever at Patras, 
caught in the marshes near Olympia, from the mal- 
aria. If I had died there, this would have been a 
new ghost story for you. You can easily make out 
the accuracy of this from Peel himself, who told it 
in detail. I suppose you will be of the opinion of 
Lucretius, who (denies the immortality of the soul, 
but) asserts that from the ' flying off of the surfaces 
of bodies, these surfaces or cases, like the coats of 
an onion, are sometimes seen entire when they are 
separated from it, so that the shapes and shadows of 
both the dead and living are frequently beheld.' 

" But if they are, are their coats and waistcoats 
also seen ? I do not disbelieve that we may be two 
by some unconscious process, to a certain sign, but 
which of these two I happen at present to be, I 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 84-7 

leave you to decide. I only hope that father me 
behaves like a gemman. 

" I wish you would get Peel asked how far I am 
accurate in my recollection of what he told me ; for 
I don't like to say such things without authority. 

" I am not sure that I was not spoken with ; but 
this also you can ascertain. I have written to you 
such letters that I stop. 

" Yours, &c. 

" P. S. Last year (in June, 1819, I met at Count 
Mosti's, at Ferrara, an Italian who asked me * if I 
knew Lord Byron?' I told him no (no one knows 
himself, you know). * Then,' says he, ' I do ; I met 
him at Naples the other day.' I pulled out my card 
and asked him if that was the way he spelt his name: 
he answered, yes. I suspect that it was a blackguard 
navy surgeon, who attended a young travelling 
madam about, and passed himself for a lord at the 
post-houses. He was a vulgar dog quite of the 
cock-pit order and a precious representative I 
must have had of him, if it was even so ; but I don't 
know. He passed himself off as a gentleman, and 
squired about a Countess * * (of this place), then 
at Venice, an ugly battered woman, of bad morals 
even for Italy." 


Ravenna, 8bre 8, 1820. 

' Foscolo's letter is exactly the thing wanted ; 
firstly, because he is a man of genius ; and, next, 

348 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

because he is an Italian, and therefore tho best 
judge of Italics. Besides, 

" He's more an antique Roman than a Dane ; 

that is, he is more of the ancient Greek than of the 
modern Italian. Though ' somewhat,' as Dugald 
Dalgetty says, ' too wild and salvage' (like * Ronald 
of the Mist'), 'tis a wonderful man, and my friends 
Hobhouse and Rose both swear by him ; and they 
are good judges of men and of Italian humanity. 

" Here are in all tivo worthy voices gain'd : 

Gifford says it is good * sterling genuine English,' 
and Foscolo says that the characters are right 
Venetian. Shakspeare and Otway had a million of 
advantages over me, besides the incalculable one of 
being dead from one to two centuries, and having 
been both born blackguards (which ARE such attrac- 
tions to the gentle living reader) ; let me then pre- 
serve the only one which I could possibly have 
that of having been at Venice, and entered more 
into the local spirit of it. I claim no more. 

" I know what Foscolo means about Calendaro's 
spitting at Bertram ; that's national the objection, 
I mean. The Italians and French, with those * flags 
of abomination,' their pocket handkerchiefs, spit 
there, and here, and every where else in your 
face almost, and therefore object to it on the stage 
as too familiar. But we who spit nowhere but in 
a man's face when we grow savage are not likely 
to feel this. Remember Massinger, and Kean's Sir 
Giles Overreach 

" Lord ! thus I spit at thee and at thy counsel ! 


Besides, Calendaro does not spit in Bertram's face ; 
he spits at him, as I have seen the Mussulmans do 
upon the ground when they are in a rage. Again, 
he does not in fact despise Bertram, though he affects 
it as we all do, when angry with one we think our 
inferior. He is angry at not being allowed to die in 
his own way (although not afraid of death) ; and re- 
collect that he suspected and hated Bertram from 
the first. Israel Bertuccio, on the other hand, is a 
cooler and more concentrated fellow : he acts upon 
principle and impulse; Calendaro upon impulse and 

" So there's argument for you. 

" The Doge repeats; true, but it is from en- 
grossing passion, and because he sees different 
persons, and is always obliged to recur to the 
cause uppermost in his mind. His speeches are 
long: true, but I wrote for the closet, and on the 
French and Italian model rather than yours, which 
I think not very highly of, for all your old drama- 
tists, who are long enough too, God knows: look 
into any of them. 

" I return you Foscolo's letter, because it alludes 
also to his private affairs. I am sorry to see such a 
man in straits, because I know what they are, or 
what they were. I never met but three men who 
would have held out a finger to me : one was your- 
self, the other William Bankes, and the other a 
nobleman long ago dead : but of these the first was 
the only one who offered it while I really wanted it; 
the second from good will but I was not in need of 
Bankes's aid, and would not have accepted it if I 


had (though I love and esteem him) ; and the 
third .* 

" So you see that I have seen some strange things 
in my time. As for your own offer, it was in 1815, 
when I was in actual uncertainty of five pounds. I 
rejected it ; but I have not forgotten it, although you 
probably have. 

" P. S. Foscolo's Ricciardo was lent, with the 
leaves uncut, to some Italians, now in villeggiatura, 
so that I have had no opportunity of hearing their 
decision, or of reading it. They seized on it as 
Foscolo's, and on account of the beauty of the 
paper and printing, directly. If I find it takes, I 
will reprint it here. The Italians think as highly of 
Foscolo as they can of any man, divided and miser- 
able as they are, and with neither leisure at present 
to read, nor head nor heart to judge of any thing 
but extracts from French newspapers and the Lugano 

" We are all looking at one another, like wolves 
on their prey in pursuit, only waiting for the first 
falling on to do unutterable things. They are a 
great world in chaos, or angels in hell, which you 
please ; but out of chaos came Paradise, and out of 
hell I don't know what; but the devil went in 
there, and he was a fine fellow once, you know. 

" You need never favour me with any periodical 
publication, except the Edinburgh Quarterly, and an 
occasional Blackwood ; or now and then a Monthly 
Review ; for the rest I do not feel curiosity enough 
to look beyond their covers. 

* The paragraph is left thus imperfect in the original. 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 351 

" To be sure I took in the British finely. He fell 
precisely into the glaring trap laid for him. It was 
inconceivable how he could be so absurd as to 
imagine us serious with him. 

" Recollect, that if you put my name to ' Don 
Juan' in these canting days, any lawyer might oppose 
my guardian right of my daughter in Chancery, on 
the plea of its containing the parody ; such are 
the perils of a foolish jest. I was not aware of this 
at the time, but you will find it correct, I believe ; 
and you may be sure that the Noels would not let it 
slip. Now I prefer my child to a poem at any 
time, and so should you, as having half a dozen. 

" Let me know your notions. 

" If you turn over the earlier pages of the Hun- 
tingdon peerage story, you will see how common a 
name Ada was in the early Plantagenet days. I 
found it in my own pedigree in the reign of John 
and Henry, and gave it to my daughter. It was 
also the name of Charlemagne's sister. It is in an 
early chapter of Genesis, as the name of the wife of 
Lamech ; and I suppose Ada is the feminine of 
Adam. It is short, ancient, vocalic, and had been 
in my family; for which reason I gave it to my 


" Ravenna, 8bre 12, 1820. 

" By land and sea carriage a considerable quan- 
tity of books have arrived ; and I am obliged and 
grateful : but medio de fonte leporum, surgit 


amari aliquid,' &c. &c. ; which, being interpreted, 

" I'm thankful for your books, dear Murray ; 
But why not send Scott's Monastery ? 

the only book in four living volumes I would give a 
baioccolo to see 'bating the rest of the same 
author, and an occasional Edinburgh and Quarterly, 
as brief chroniclers of the times. Instead of this, here 
are Johnny Keats's * * poetry, and three novels by 
God knows whom, except that there is Peg * * *'s 
name to one of them a spinster whom I thought 
we had sent back to her spinning. Crayon is very 
good ; Hogg's Tales rough, but RACY, and welcome. 

" Books of travels are expensive, and I don't 
want them, having travelled already ; besides, they 
lie. Thank the author of ' The Profligate' for his 
(or her) present. Pray send me no more poetry but 
what is rare and decidedly good. There is such a 
trash of Keats and the like upon my tables that I 
am ashamed to look at them. I say nothing against 
your parsons, your S ** s and your C ** s it 
is all very fine but pray dispense me from the 
pleasure. Instead of poetry, if you will favour me 
with a few soda-powders, I shall be delighted : but 
all prose ('bating travels and novels NOT by Scott) is 
welcome, especially Scott's Tales of my Landlord, 
and so on. 

" In the notes to Marino Faliero, it may be as 
well to say that ' Benintende' was not really of the 
Ten, but merely Grand Chancellor, a separate office 
(although important): it was an arbitrary alteration 


of mine. The Doges too were all buried in Si. 
Mark's before Faliero. It is singular that when his 
predecessor, Andrea Dandolo, died, the Ten made a 
law that all the future Doges should be buried with 
their families, in their own churches, one would 
think by a kind of presentiment. So that all that is 
said of his ancestral Doges, as buried at St. John's 
and Paul's, is altered from the fact, they being in 
St. Mark's. Make a note of this, and put Editor as 
the subscription to it. 

" As I make such pretensions to accuracy, I 
should not like to be twitted even with such trifles 
on that score. Of the play they may say what they 
please, but not so of my costume and dram. pers. 
they having been real existences. 

" I omitted Foscolo in my list of living Venetian 
worthies, in the notes, considering him as an Italian 
in general, and not a mere provincial like the rest ; 
and as an Italian I have spoken of him in the pre- 
face to Canto 4th of Childe Harold. 

" The French translation of us ! ! ! oime ! oime f 
the German ; but I don't understand the latter and 
his long dissertation at the end about the Fausts. 
Excuse haste. Of politics it is not safe to speak, 
but nothing is, decided as yet. 

" I am in a very fierce humour at not having 
Scott's Monastery. You are too liberal in quantity, 
and somewhat careless of the quality, of your 
missives. All the Quarterlies (four in number) I 
had had before from you, and two of the Edinburgh ; 
but no matter ; we shall have new ones by and by. 
No more Keats, I entreat : flay him alive ; if some 

VOL. iv. A A 

354? NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

of you don't, I must skin him myself. There is no 
bearing the drivelling idiotism of the manikin. 

" I don't feel inclined to care further about ( Don 
Juan.' What do you think a very pretty Italian 
lady said to me the other day ? She had read it in 
the French, and paid me some compliments, with 
due DRAWBACKS, upon it. I answered that what 
she said was true, but that I suspected it would live 
longer than Childe Harold. Ah but' (said she)./ 
would rather have the fame of Childe Harold for 
three years than an IMMORTALITY of Don Juan!' 
The truth is that it is TOO TRUE, and the women 
hate many things which strip off the tinsel of senti- 
ment; and they are right, as it would rob them of 
their weapons. I never knew a woman who did not 
hate De Grammont's Memoirs for the same reason : 
even Lady * * used to abuse them. 

" Rose's work I never received. It was seized 
at Venice. Such is the liberality of the Huns, with 
their two hundred thousand men, that they dare not 
let such a volume as his circulate." 


Ravenna, 8bre 16, 1820. 

" The Abbot has just arrived ; many thanks ; as 
also for the Monastery when you send it ! ! ! 

" The Abbot will have a more than ordinary 
interest for me, for an ancestor of mine by the mo- 
ther's side, Sir J. Gordon of Gight, the handsomest 
of his day, died on a scaffold at Aberdeen for his 
loyalty to Mary, of whom he was an imputed para- 

1820. I'IFE OF LORD BYRON. 355 

mour as well as her relation. His fate was much 
commented on in the Chronicles of the times. If I 
mistake not, he had something to do with her escape 
from Loch Leven, or with her captivity there. But 
this you will know better than I. 

" I recollect Loch Leven as it were but yester- 
day. I saw it in my way to England in 1798, being 
then ten years of age. My mother, who was as 
haughty as Lucifer with her descent from the 
Stuarts, and her right line from the old Gordons, 
not the Seyton Gordons, as she disdainfully termed 
the ducal branch, told me the story, always remind- 
ing me how superior her Gordons were to the 
southern Byrons, notwithstanding our Norman, and 
always masculine descent, which has never lapsed 
into a female, as my mother's Gordons had done in 
her own person. 

" I have written to you so often lately, that the 
brevity of this will be welcome. Yours," &c. 


" Ravenna, 8bre 17, 1820. 

" Enclosed is the Dedication of Marino Faliero 
to Goethe. Query, is his title Baron or not ? I 
think yes. Let me know your opinion, and so forth. 
" P. S. Let me know what Mr. Hobhouse and 
you have decided about the two prose letters and 
their publication. 

" I enclose you an Italian abstract of the German 
translator of Manfred's Appendix, in which you will 
perceive quoted what Goethe says of the whole body 
A A 2 

356 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

of English poetry (and not of me in particular). 
On this the Dedication is founded, as you will per- 
ceive, though I had thought of it before, for I look 
upon him as a great man." 

The very singular Dedication transmitted with 
this letter has never before been published, nor, as 
far as I can learn, ever reached the hands of the 
illustrious German. It is written in the poet's most 
whimsical and mocking mood ; and the unmeasured 
severity poured out in it upon the two favourite ob- 
jects of his wrath and ridicule compels me to deprive 
the reader of some of its most amusing passages. 


Sir, In the Appendix to an English work 
lately translated into German and published at 
Leipsic, a judgment of yours upon English poetry is 
quoted as follows : That in English poetry, great 
genius, universal power, a feeling of profundity, with 
sufficient tenderness and force, are to be found ; but 
that altogether these do not constitute poets,' &c. &c. 

" I regret to see a great man falling into a great 
mistake. This opinion of yours only proves that the 
* Dictionary often thousand living English Authors' 
has not been translated into German. You will 
have read, in your friend Schlegel's version, the 
dialogue in Macbeth 

" ' There are ten thousand ! 
Macbeth. Geese, villain? 
Answer. Authors, sir.' 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 357 

Now, of these ' ten thousand authors/ there are ac- 
tually nineteen hundred and eighty-seven poets, 
all alive at this moment, whatever their works may 
be, as their booksellers well know ; and amongst 
these there are several who possess a far greater 
reputation than mine, although considerably less 
than yours. It is owing to this neglect on the part 
of your German translators that you are not aware 
of the works of * * * . 

" There is also another, named * * * * 

" I mention these poets by way of sample to 

enlighten you. They form but two bricks of our 

Babel, (WINDSOR bricks, by the way,) but may serve 

for a specimen of the building. 

" It is, moreover, asserted that * the predominant 
character of the whole body of the present English 
poetry is a disgust and contempt for life.' But I 
rather suspect that, by one single work of prose, 
you yourself have excited a greater contempt for life 
than all the English volumes of poesy that ever were 
written. Madame de Stae'l says, that ' Werther has 
occasioned more suicides than the most beautiful 
woman ; ' and I really believe that he has put more 
individuals out of this world than Napoleon himself, 
except in the way of his profession. Perhaps, Illus- 
trious Sir, the acrimonious judgment passed by a 
celebrated northern journal upon you in particular, 
and the Germans in general, has rather indisposed 
you towards English poetry as well as criticism. 
But you must not regard our critics, who are at 
bottom good-natured fellows, considering their two 
professions, taking up the law in court, and laying 

358 NOTICES OF THE 1820. 

it down out of it. No one can more lament their 
hasty and unfair judgment, in your particular, than 
I do; and I so expressed myself to your friend 
Schlegel, in 1816, at Coppet. 

" In behalf of my t ten thousand' living brethren, 
and of myself, I have thus far taken notice of an 
opinion expressed with regard to ' English poetry 
in general, and which merited notice, because it 
was YOURS. 

" My principal object in addressing you was to 
testify my sincere respect and admiration of a man, 
who, for half a century, has led the literature of a 
great nation, and will go down to posterity as the 
first literary character of his age. 

" You have been fortunate, Sir, not only in the 
writings which have illustrated your name, but in 
the name itself, as being sufficiently musical for the 
articulation of posterity. In this you have the ad- 
vantage of some of your countrymen, whose names 
would perhaps be immortal also if any body could 
pronounce them. 

" It may, perhaps, be supposed, by this apparent 
tone of levity, that I am wanting in intentional 
respect towards you ; but this will be a mistake : 
I am always flippant in prose. Considering you, 
as I really and warmly do, in common with all your 
own, and with most other nations, to be by far the 
first literary character which has existed in Europe 
since the death of Voltaire, I felt, and feel, desirous 
to inscribe to you the following work, not as being 
either a tragedy or a poem, (for I cannot pronounce 
upon its pretensions to be either one or the other, 

1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 359 

or both, or neither,) but as a mark of esteem ana 
admiration from a foreigner to the man who has been 
hailed in Germany THE GREAT GOETHE.' 
" I have the honour to be, 

" With the truest respect, 

" Your most obedient and 
" Very humble servant, 


" Ravenna, 8bre 14, 1820. 

" P. S. I perceive that in Germany, as well as in 
Italy, there is a great struggle about what they call 
Classical' and Romantic,' terms which were not 
subjects of classification in England, at least when 1 
left it four or five years ago. Some of the English 
scribblers, it is true, abused Pope and Swift, but the 
reason was that they themselves did not know how 
to write either prose or verse ; but nobody thought 
them worth making a sect of. Perhaps there may 
be something of the kind sprung up lately, but I 
have not heard much about it, and it would be such 
bad taste that I shall be very sorry to believe it." 



rfpoTTis\vooi)Es and SHAW,